Activity helps make virus pandemic bearable for families

Instead of hibernating during the coronavirus and COVID-19 pandemic, some families are venturing outside and going on a bear hunt.

Whether they drive or walk through neighborhoods in Jackson County, they keep track of the stuffed bears they see in the windows of homes and businesses and see who can find the most.

To help with their search, the Schleibaum family of Seymour created the website It features a map with more than 270 houses where bears can be found in windows, including in Seymour, Brownstown and Crothersville. People can add their home by clicking on “Report a new bear sighting.”

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Curt and Summer Schleibaum’s twins, Maxx and Madi, help with the project.

“We are just trying to have some fun while we social distance,” Curt said. “When we were out hunting bears, Maxx had the idea of building a website to track where they were to share with others around town. From that, we built Window Bear Tracker together.”

Madi created a video to show how they place the pins on the map. That link is found on the website.

“For the twins, it’s just a project that I gave them while they are doing their eLearning, not one actually assigned directly from school,” Curt said. “I have them working with spreadsheets, basic web design and geography of Seymour as they put the pins to find locations around Seymour.”

Another link on the website shares information on the origin of teddy bear hunts and how they spread around the world.

There also are bear hunt printables shared by Margaret R. Brown Elementary School teacher Amanda Wilp that bear hunters can use on their venture.

Ryan Knutson, who lives in Weslin Estates in Seymour, shared the Window Bear Tracker link on his Facebook page. He has a spotlight on the bear in his window and encouraged his neighbors to join in the fun.

“I have about every neighbor texting me saying they are in. It should be awesome for the kids,” he said. “I have been working at home for the last two weeks, and as I see the kids walk around with their parents, I thought I would copycat the idea just to make them happy. Just trying to make the littles have fun out here.”

Brittany Vaughn has a bear in a window at her Seymour home and also has gone out with her daughter, Zoey, looking for bears.

“My daughter and I both like the bear hunt song, so this was fun and made it come to life in a way,” Brittany said. “It was so nice to have some fun bear hunting and not even think about the other spring activities we had planned and have canceled due to the pandemic. My daughter really enjoyed the online map and the paper that was created for tracking the bears she found.”

Jennie Chase, a second grade teacher at Emerson Elementary School in Seymour, applied the bear hunting to an eLearning assignment for her students.

“We have been publishing stories, and they share them to my email,” she said. “They place their bears somewhere visible for all to see, send me a pic and write a short story about how special the bear is to them and how it brings them joy, and we are sharing the joy with others.”

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For information on the Window Bear Tracker and to add your home to the map, visit