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Two friends making ISO bears for others still stuck at home during COVID-19

Tim Martain, June 29, 2020 6:45PM Mercury

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Grace and Chloe with some of the ISO bears they have made. Picture: Richard Jupe media_cameraGrace and Chloe with some of the ISO bears they have made. Picture: Richard Jupe


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Two Australian girls have been busy during the COVID-19 pandemic making soft toys for people who are still isolating at home for health reasons.

Grace, 11, and Chloe, 12, who live in Tasmania, met at a sewing class, which Chloe went to as part of a disability support service for siblings* of children with disabilities.

Because Grace lives in Hobart and Chloe at Geeveston, the new friends stayed in touch with Zoom calls and made plans and a pattern for what’s being called their “ISO* bears” project. They donated the materials for the bears themselves.

“It’s been a hard time for people and I wanted to do something to help,” Grace said.

“I thought of the ISO cuddle bears because my siblings and I have special toys that we use for comfort when we’re feeling sad or anxious about COVID-19.”

Chloe’s younger brother Lochie is supported by Li-Ve Tasmania and is still isolating because of his disability and health conditions.

“We’ve been isolated at home for a long time to protect Lochie, losing his routine has made it really hard for him to sleep,” Chloe said.

“So I’m hoping the bears will be useful for other people struggling with things like that.”

Each bear has a canvas belly and comes with a fabric marker so it can be named or personalised.

The bears also come with an adoption certificate and a special message from the two friends.

TAS_MER_NEWS_ISOBEARS_23JUN20 media_cameraChloe and Grace have given their ideas, time and materials to make the ISO bears for others who continue to be stuck at home. Picture: Richard Jupe

The bears are available free to any household with a person supported by Li-Ve Tasmania as part of the organisation’s COVID-19 Boredom Buster bags project.

During the COVID-related disruptions, hundreds of Boredom Buster bags have been delivered weekly to people with disabilities who have been stuck at home without their regular activities, such as swimming and other sport and exercise, excursions and social catch-ups. The bags are paid for by Li-Ve staff who donate to a workplace giving fund and contain craft kits, among other things.


  • siblings: brothers and sisters
  • ISO: short for isolation


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  1. What state do the girls live in?
  2. How did they meet?
  3. Explain what they are making and why?
  4. Why are some people still stuck at home?
  5. Who pays for what goes in the bags?


1. Character Traits
Although you have probably never met Grace and Chloe we can assume a lot about their personality and skills from this news article. Write a list of personal characteristics and skills that you think these girls display and what makes you think they have these characteristics.

For example, you could assume that they are:

hard working – they are sewing lots of bears

caring – they showed that they care about how others are feeling by trying to give them some comfort during isolation

good at sewing – to be able to sew bears with a canvas belly they need to have good sewing skills

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Critical and Creative thinking, Personal and Social Capability

2. Extension
Create a certificate
After initiating such a generous and considerate act of kindness, it would be lovely if Grace and Chloe were recognised for their work.

Create a certificate that could be sent to them to acknowledge their hard work and their considerate nature. Include a paragraph on the certificate that explains what they are receiving the certificate for. What skills and characteristics have they displayed?

You could design and create the certificate by hand or you could do it on a computer using word processing or art and design software.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Personal and Social Capability

Boredom Busters
While many people are back at school and work, there are still some stuck in isolation, plus school holidays are coming up again.

Create 3 boredom buster games or activities to share with your class as part of a boredom buster challenge. Being bored is sometimes a good thing. It gets the brain thinking on a different level. But we also want to keep up our skills as well.

Turn one of your games or activities into a procedure for another classmate to follow. Think about all the steps and try not to leave anything out.

HAVE YOUR SAY: What would you put in a Boredom Buster bag?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

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