It’s time to announce a brand new challenge of the month, and this month we have a very special one that is kid-friendly!
The Lifeology challenge of the month is a monthly fun challenge that anyone can participate in to try something new or improve their science communication skills. Last month the challenge was to write a science poem – we will be posting all submitted poems soon!
For the month of August, your challenge is to read our Covid comic with your little friends – your kids, young students, nieces, nephews, grandkids! – and to respond to this educational comic with them by creating a drawing of how you and they are keeping yourselves and others safe during this pandemic! We even have a drawing/coloring activity sheet on “Keeping Covid Away” that you can print out for your little friends to draw/color on. (Or for you to draw on yourself! We totally would!)
Step 1: Read, Look, Learn!
Step 2: Draw!
Step 3: Share your masterpiece with us!
Bonus: Join our Slack live-chat about how to talk to kids about science and COVID-19! (Friday, August 7, 1pm Eastern US – Google calendar invite).
Kids and adults who fill out and draw/color on our “Keeping Covid Away” activity sheet can take a picture of their final masterpiece and e-mail the picture to us at Lifeology@lifeomic.com! (You could also mail the completed sheet to LifeOmic at 351 W. 10th St, Indianapolis, IN 46202). Include a name and mailing address, and we will mail an adorable sticker and a personalized note from our team and the creators of our Covid comic!
Are your kids a bit older and beyond the reading level of our Keeping Covid Away comic? Here’s a comic for middle to high school aged kids. Find more illustrated Covid primers here.
The ‘Keeping Covid Away’ worksheet
The worksheet includes a dot-to-dot activity and a space to make a comic or a drawing about how you keep safe and keep others. safe in this pandemic. This challenge was made to be child-friendly, but anyone at all is welcome and encouraged to submit, regardless of age or drawing ability!
What have you been doing differently since Covid came to town?
Maybe you have learned how to wash your hands properly? Or thought of a new safe way to play with your friends? Maybe you know a creative way of helping people that others may not have thought of? We want to know what steps you are taking to Keep Covid Away and look out for others.
About the comic – available in 11 languages!
The comic tells the story of Covid (pictured below). What is it doing in town? How can we stop it sticking onto us and jumping onto others?
This comic was written by molecular biologist Signe Elisabeth Aasberg, PhD, beautifully illustrated by science communicator Elfy Chiang, presented by Lifeology, reviewed by our children! It is a fun, colorful and easy-to-understand way of helping young children and their families talk about the coronavirus and the associated COVID-19 illness.
As illustrator Elfy explains in a blog post about the comic: “When we decided to create a comic on the novel coronavirus for small children, I wanted to make something that parents could use to talk to their kids about the pandemic. I wanted to make something that would enable adults and their little ones to learn together and reflect on the changes happening in our daily lives right now.“
Some words on science and health in the pandemic, from the comic creators
Here are some reflections and words of advice from Elfy and Signe, who together created Covid comic.
Elfy (comic illustrator): “The initial idea behind the comic was to help young children make sense of the changes in everyday life due to the pandemic. I hope the comic provides parents or caregivers a material that helps them talk about the topic with their young ones. Apart from providing basic knowledge about the virus, I hope the story also sends the message that although COVID-19 is a big threat to our health, there are easy steps we can take to keep each other safe.
This challenge of the month can also help kids and adults alike explore fun activities indoors like drawing or being creative whilst still interacting with others both near and far. And mostly, although not as grand as an award medal, I hope the stickers can be something people receive through the post to lighten the spirits at these strange times.”
Signe (comic author): “In the first few days of the lock-down I tried to be honest with my 3-year old daughter about why day-care was closed and we couldn’t go outside. At the same time, I didn’t want to scare her and I tried carefully to explain things to her.
In the end, she led the way. She asked me questions about Covid-19 and I answered truthfully, but in a way she could understand. This comic is more or less my answers to Mina Alice’s questions: Who is Covid-19 and what does it want? Why do I need to wash my hands ALL the time?
We have had a crazy spring and as the summer is slowly ending, we are headed for a fall and winter where we all need to keep up the good work of staying safe and healthy. It might be boring to be indoors so much, maybe you have to wear a face mask when you go outside, or maybe you worry about what will happen in the coming months. It is okay to be bored, worried and frustrated.
Yet it is our responsibility to do our best to limit Covid-19 and I know you are doing a great job. Keep following your country’s instructions. If you feel down, it is okay and important to talk about it. Try to have as much fun as you can though – play games, dance around, make food you haven’t tried before or maybe even try digital traveling?
In the middle of lock-down I started bird-watching. You can set-up a feeder and see how many species you can spot and even learn to recognize them by their songs. Also try to notice how they behave – did you know that birds behave very differently? The house sparrow for instance, has a hierarchy for who gets to sand bathe first, and who has to wait.
I also recommend that you keep a diary. The whole family can do this together, or you can do it on your own. You can write, but also paint and draw. This helps you process things that might be difficult, but it also helps you keep track of what is happening and how you felt along the way. Many years from now you will find it very valuable to have your own book about Covid-19.”
Notes on drawing
Remember, this isn’t a test! If you don’t consider yourself an artist, don’t let that put you off taking part. Anyone is welcome to participate, regardless of your drawing ability. We want you to have fun with it, so don’t worry if it isn’t perfect or professional.
You can use the space on the worksheet for your drawing, or use the back or the page or your own paper if you want more space.
You may prefer to use a pencil, felt tips, paints, or your computer*.
You can choose whether you want to do a regular drawing, or make a comic. If you want to make a comic, you may want to read this blog post to learn more about what comics are, why they can be effective, and tips on what makes a good comic.
*If you wish to do the drawing digitally, you can send us your drawing as a pngs or jpgs. We recommend making the image at least 1000 X 1000 pixels large
In need of some inspiration?
There can be times when we suffer a creative block, and no ideas spring to your mind. Looking at other people’s artwork can help get your brain cogs moving.
Take a look at this artwork about staying well during the pandemic, created by members of the charity UNICEF’s digital community, Voices of Youth.
A painting by Lorena, aged 17, from Romania.
A drawing by Tudor, aged 12, from Romania.
If you decide to make a comic, check out the imaginative comics created for our May challenge of the month for inspiration.
This comic about wearing masks to keep safe was created by Tricia Skelton.
This comic about wearing masks to keep safe was created by Tricia Skelton.
Share your creations!
Submit a photograph or scanned copy of your comic to Lifeology@Lifeomic.com by August 30, 2020. Please note your comic or drawing will be featured on the Lifeology blog. Include your postal address in the body of the email and we will try to send you a cute Covid monster sticker!
While we may be tired of staying distanced from our friends, wearing a mask, or washing our hands all the time, it’s important not to give up. We hope this challenge will help to show people that they aren’t alone in making sacrifices and changes. We want to celebrate the things people are doing to protect and look out for themselves and others.
Please share this challenge with anyone who you think would enjoy it.