Amid social distancing rules, community stays connected with creative game

An Indiana woman has come up with a unique way to keep her community connected in light of social distancing guidelines, the South Bend Tribune reports.

Emily Nelson, who lives in the Sunnymede neighborhood of South Bend, devised a “Walking Eye Spy” game, in which residents are encouraged to put decorations in their front doors, windows or lawns to entertain passerbys.

“It’s a kind of interactive scavenger hunt that you can participate in while maintaining safe social distance,” Nelson explained to the newspaper.

In some cases, children who have walked by the decorations have left messages on the pavement in front of participating houses.

“One small child — I’d say she’s preschool age — she takes sidewalk chalk and draws a little picture in front of each house that participates,” Nelson said. “Other children count the number of houses on their block or they get excited and take a longer walk or bike ride to see what they find.”

Nelson’s daughter Grace told the Tribune that she has enjoyed exploring the neighborhood as a result of the activity.

“It’s fun to go around the neighborhood and look at the things that people put up,” she said.

Other residents echoed similar thoughts.

“We walked over to one [house] that says, ‘Hang in there,’ and I think it’s really fun for them to get those positive vibes going and to see us coming together as a community,” Meaghan Balser, a mother of four, told the publication.

In addition to participating in the game, some residents have used Facebook Messenger to ask their neighbors if they need anything from the grocery store. Jill LaFountain, a longtime Sunneymede resident and administrator of the Sunnymede Neighborhood Association Facebook page, said that those acts of service, along with Nelson’s game, has brought people closer together.

“It gives people a sense of community,” she said of the game.

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