Children of Lockdown Logo

Calling all Children of Lockdown – this is your chance to go down in history

Storychest is giving children the opportunity to be a part of history by sharing their experiences of life during the COVID-19 lockdown in a digital time capsule.

For this historic project, children aged between 3 and 17 are being asked to reflect on their lockdown experiences. This could be something written (like a story, a poem or even a rap) or a picture (like a painting or a drawing). If it’s a written piece, it doesn’t have to be a particular length, but if it’s a story, there is a limit of 1,000 words.

These experiences will be displayed on a dedicated ‘Children of Lockdown’ website to be preserved as a digital time capsule by the British Library in the UK Web Archive.

By preserving those experiences in this archive, children of the future will be able to see and understand what life was like during this unprecedented time, through the eyes of the children of today.

There is also a competition to find the most creative response in each age category, to be judged by five children’s authors: Natalie Reeves Billing, Nicola J Rowley, Janey Jones, Sandra Horn and Rhys Brisenden. Winners in each age category will receive National Book Tokens.

The project is the brainchild of Charlotte McMillan, founder of the digital scrapbook app Storychest.

“It started as a personal project that I asked my three boys to do; they have witnessed a fundamental moment in history, when everything that was predictable about our lives was suspended – the ability to come and go as we please, to see friends and family, and to go to school.

“I thought it was important for them to express their thoughts and reflections about lockdown, almost as a way of putting it into perspective – the negatives but also the positives – and to see what we can take on board for the future.”

UK Web Archive covers medical, healthcare, policy and social impacts of the pandemic

Charlotte heard about the British Library’s UK Web Archive, so she approached them with her idea of creating the Children of Lockdown digital time capsule. Head of Contemporary British Publications at the British Library, Ian Cooke, said:

“The British Library will be including Children of Lockdown in its collection on COVID-19, as part of the UK Web Archive. This collection covers medical, healthcare, policy and social impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“As part of this, we are preserving a record of personal responses and accounts of life during Coronavirus, through communications made public online and preserved in the UK Web Archive.

“Children of Lockdown will be an important part of this collection, showing first-hand accounts of how lockdown impacted a generation, through a range of creative and written responses.”

Natalie Reeves Billing, author of My Mummy Is A Monster: My Children Are Monsters, said:

“Children have so much to say, and expressing themselves subconsciously via storytelling is the perfect way to unlock that message they wish to deliver.

“Not every child can find the right way to frame their feelings about lockdown but art and creative writing can give them that outlet and the digital time capsule gives children a platform to share their feelings on the world right now.

“With this project, children have that opportunity to put their experiences in one place, recounting and sharing it, and subconsciously, making sense of things.”

Poems, stories or pictures can be submitted up until 7pm on 31st July and winners will be announced on 31st August on Storychest’s Facebook page and website.

Here are some suggestions to get you thinking:

  • How has lockdown made you feel?
  • What are the positives and negatives of lockdown?
  • What have you missed during lockdown?
  • What have you enjoyed during lockdown?
  • Have you learnt anything new during lockdown?
  • How has your day changed during lockdown?
  • How have the activities that you were used to doing changed during lockdown?
  • What are you looking forward to doing when this is all over?
  • Do you think that you’ll do anything differently to how you did it before lockdown, when this is all over?
  • What would be your lockdown survival kit?
  • Do you have any funny stories from lockdown?
  • Is there a song that reminds you of lockdown?

For more information about submitting entries visit Children of Lockdown. Once winners have been announced, all entries will be accessible on the website.

Only the first name, age and location of each child will be made public.