The colorful symbols are meant to spread joy and hope.

By Emily VanSchmus
March 20, 2020

If you’re spending more time at home right now, don’t forget to step outside; 20 minutes outdoors can boost your mental health. Restaurants, gyms, and offices may be closed, but even a quick walk around the block can lift your spirits. And this week, people in communities around the country have been making a stroll through the neighborhood a bit brighter by organizing 'rainbow hunts.' Here’s how it works: Draw, paint, or craft a rainbow and hang it in a front-facing window. Be sure to make it big enough and hang it in a place that it can be easily seen from the sidewalk. Rainbows have long been a symbol of beauty and peace after a storm, and their bright colors can brighten even the cloudiest of days. Seeing a rainbow in someone's window will remind you that this uncertain time won't last forever, and it will hopefully bring a smile to your face knowing that someone placed the rainbow in the window to cheer up all who walk by.

When you’ve added the display to your window, drop your location on the interactive Google map titled ‘The Quarantine Rainbow Connection’ so members in your community will know where to look while they’re strolling around the neighborhood. The interactive scavenger hunt is meant to spread joy and hope to those who can't get out of the house except for a walk outside. And since the hunt requires no personal interaction, it's safe for anyone to participate in this uncertain time.

The map shows high participation in San Francisco, New York, and Chicago, and many of the tagged Instagram posts show community involvement in Indianapolis and Philadelphia. It’s easy to organize a rainbow hunt no matter where you live: Just add a spot to the virtual map and get your neighborhood involved by spreading the word about your #rainbowhunt on social media.

So color a rainbow (or two!), hang them in the window, and take a calming walk around the block.

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