Hunting for hearts

Local scavenger hunt aimed at helping kids stay active


ROCHELLE – A local mother and the City of Rochelle are working together to help kids be creative and get some fresh air and exercise, while also practicing social distancing.

Heather Simo, secretary of the local VFW, contacted the City of Rochelle to inform it of a spring scavenger hunt that she and some of the moms in the community were doing. The city thought it was a great idea and went forward with the project.

The idea for the scavenger hunt is based on a current model called the Heart Hunters, which started in Galesburg. Simo contacted the creator the of the scavenger hunt through its Facebook page and got her permission to start a similar one in Rochelle.

For the scavenger hunt, kids put a heart in the front window of their house and go around the neighborhood finding other houses with hearts as well. Kids can create the heart or use whatever they have lying around the house.

Doing this gets kids to be creative, get some fresh air and practice social distancing at the same time. Parents are encouraged to post a photo of their hearts to the Heart Hunters Facebook page when they put them up. While this started out as a small local group, it now has members all over the world.

“Over the course of the last week its Facebook page has gone from a couple thousand members here in Illinois, to over 300,000 across the globe,” said Simo. “We have had people from Australia, Ireland and just about anywhere sending in their pictures.”

The scavenger hunt works the exact same as the Heart Hunters except each week will have a new theme for the window, instead of remaining the same. The rest of the hunt will follow the schedule of Teddy Bears from April 1-7, Easter from April 8-14 and Dinosaurs from April 15-21.

Any updates after April 21 will be posted to either the Heart Hunters or Rochelle Quarantine Scavenger Hunt Facebook pages. While this event gets kids working on something creative and out of the house, the main goal is to show them that everyone is in this together.

“This sends them a message that we are all in this together,” said Simo. “We are still isolated, but we are not alone.”

Simo would like the scavenger hunt to continue even after the shelter in place order is finished. This is a great summer project that will continue to help get the kids outside and get some exercise.