Bear hunt app for kids

by Andy Bryenton

The concept of a ‘teddy bear hunt’ for families taking a neighbourhood walk for exercise during the lockdown has become one of the biggest symbols of community involvement and togetherness during this otherwise stressful time. 

Now a new app makes it easy to post where you’ve found a bear, and where you’ve placed one in your window if you’re taking part.

The bear hunt concept was inspired by two things; the need to create a social outreach for kids and parents that didn’t involve social contact and the classic children’s book from 1989 We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. Many families, especially those with small sections, have taken to embarking on short neighbourhood walks with just parents and kids who are self-isolating together, or taking a drive around the close-by streets to spot bears from the isolated safety of the family car. It’s good, free fun, and it’s also a chance to get creative with your own family’s window display of a bear, including painted speech bubbles with messages of friendship, whole cardboard backgrounds, and even bears in dress-up, on motorbikes or in scuba gear.

Now there’s a free New Zealand focussed app for that. Go to, and you’ll find an interactive map of the whole country. Zoom in to Dargaville, Mangawhai, Ruawai, Maungaturoto or any local town and start tagging houses with bears; either your own, or ones you’ve spotted. There’s even a ‘wall’ for photos of bears ‘captured in the wild’. Organise a challenge between you and your mates as to who can make the most outrageous bear-themed display window or yard ornament to join in the fun.

Kids, remember to only go out ‘hunting’ with mum, dad or an adult and stick to the rules of the lockdown to help beat the coronavirus. Parents, the people behind, would like to reassure everyone that for reasons of privacy they will only keep information pertaining to teddy bear placements for 30 days, then discard it all — this should cover the lockdown period.