Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Love letters, window hearts and teddy bear hunts: spreading joy at a difficult time

In this unprecedented time of a global pandemic and stay-at-home orders, people are coming up with lovely ways to lighten the burdens of isolation, fear and stress.

First there were the “bear hunts,” in which people put teddy bears or other stuffed animals in their windows, with the idea that kids could spot them while out on neighborhood walks. (For a different spin on that, here are some downloadable bear pictures to color and display.)

Also, lots of families are decorating windows, sidewalks and other areas with hearts, flowers or other cheerful designs.

Talk about a win-win-win: Your windows look great, you can call it “art class” for the kids, and have you noticed how soothing coloring can be? A great activity for all ages. (My daughter loves it when I take the time to stop, sit down and color with her!)

Public-broadcast station KCTS 9 has gotten into the spirit with “Our Hearts Live Here,” a social-media promotion and series of events based around the idea of bringing the community together.

They featured home decor in March and then got cozy with a “Mr. Rogers sweater” promotion, soliciting photos of families and even pets wearing cardigans. (Also, here are Mr. Rogers coloring pages.)

And another day-brightening campaign that definitely could double as a school project:

Local winery Tinte Cellars of Woodinville created a “Letters of Love for the Elderly” campaign, recognizing that senior citizens are particularly isolated right now because of social distancing.

They encourage people to write letters (tips here) and send them to Northshore Senior Center, which will distribute them.

However, this idea could apply to anyone. What a great activity for kids. Get out paper or stationery and have them write to grandparents, friends, anyone you can’t see in person right now. That’s guaranteed to brighten someone’s day!

“Reaching out with words of comfort could be a real game-changer when we are talking about the feeling of isolation,” said Corey Lowell, Director of Senior Centers, for Northshore Senior Center. “Anything to make the recipients smile and feel connected to something outside of their house is greatly appreciated.”

Letters should be legible, creative, kind, nonreligious and each letter should be in an unsealed envelope (mailed inside a larger envelope). Letter writers are advised to take health precautions but also are reminded that public-health officials have said they believe the mail system is safe.

Mail to: Corey Lowell, director of senior centers
Northshore Senior Center
10201 E. Riverside Drive
Bothell, WA 98011

(Note: This is not intended as a penpal arrangement, so writers should not expect a response — but can be assured that they have brightened someone’s day!)