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Family Sparks Lockdown Craze By Hiding Pokémon In Local Park For Kids To Hunt For

Family Sparks Lockdown Craze By Hiding Pokémon In Local Park For Kids To Hunt For
Ben da Costa's son playing Pokemon Go in real life (Ben da Costa/PA)

A family has started a new lockdown craze by recreating Pokémon Go in their local park.

Ben da Costa, 35, from Lewisham, London, came up with the idea as a way to keep his four-year-old son Louie entertained and active while he is unable to see his friends.

With his wife employed as a key worker and Mr. da Costa running a business – he is creative director of the Now advertising agency – he said finding ways to keep two small children entertained during lockdown has been "quite intense."

Ben da Costa came up with the idea to keep his sons active and entertained (Ben da Costa/PA)

"We played Pokémon Go on my phone and I quickly realized it would just involve him holding a phone the entire time, which sort of defies the point of getting them outside," he told the PA news agency.

Instead, Mr. da Costa and his wife printed out images of Pokémon, laminated them, and went with sons Louie and Felix, who is nearly two, to hide them in nearby Mountsfield Park.

"We came back the next day and we found there were loads of kids out looking for them," he said.

"This has given us something to do – it's not just hanging them, it's picking which ones we want to do, print them out, cut them out, laminate them, it's given us an activity and a sort of craft as well."

It has spread beyond their family too, with other children in the area enjoying looking for the pocket monsters.

Choosing the Pokémon, cutting them out and laminating them has been part of the fun for Ben da Costa's family (Ben da Costa/PA)

"More and more people seem to be going and looking for them," Mr. da Costa said.

"I guess it refreshes the park for lots of people with young kids."

"It was purely a thing for us to do. He (Louie) enjoyed hiding them and then going back the next day to find them, and it's spiraled into something slightly bigger."

Mr. Da Costa has set up an Instagram account – @lewishampokemon – to offer clues to the locations of the Pokémon.

"For other people, if their kids are really struggling I didn't want them to be upset if they couldn't find them so it basically says where they are," he said.

Pokémon, like this Ponyta, have been hidden in parks around Lewisham (Ben da Costa/PA)

But it is not just children who are enjoying the hunt.

Mr. da Costa said:

"What has been quite amazing is lots of older Pokémon fans have been Instagram messaging me saying they've found them and stuff."
"There's a whole troop of young kids – four to seven or eight – that have been looking for them but then there's the older Pokémon fans using it as their daily exercise to go and find them all."

After receiving positive feedback from other parents and requests to do more, the family hid a new selection of Pokémon in Ladywell Fields this weekend.

Now Mr. Da Costa is hoping the idea may be taken on by others.

"In an ideal world loads of people would start hiding them and it would be a lovely thing that grows on its own," he said.