What has the last year been like for you? We asked TIME for Kids readers and TFK Kid Reporters, past and present, to think about the pandemic. How has it changed our lives? Most of you wrote to us about remote learning and virtual playdates. Many of you wrote about new hobbies or pets. Some of you described hard times faced by you and your family.
Everyone has a story to tell. Thank you for sharing your stories with us.
Below, you’ll hear from Pranav, in New York; Maya, in Washington State; Milo, in New Jersey; and Abby, in Hawaii. To keep boredom away, these creative kids used technology to explore new pastimes—from 3D printing and blogging to movie-making and live-streaming.
TFK Kid Reporter Pranav Mukhi, age 11
South Setauket, New York
When I began school remotely, in March 2020, I was excited at first. I thought that besides school, most of my life would stay the same. However, I soon realized that school shutting down meant that the other things I enjoyed, such as my evening routine of swimming and karate practice, would also come to a standstill.
With my newfound time, I needed a new hobby. I used all my savings to buy a 3D printer. It was so exciting! I began designing things even before the printer was delivered. I started off making simple designs, such as a pencil box for my sister. Then I moved on to creating more complex designs, such as a model of a coronavirus and a mini T. rex. My passion for 3D printing also allowed me to help out my community during the pandemic. I worked with Good Karma Engineering to create reusable masks with 3D-printed designs.
Maya Shukla, age 12
At the beginning of the lockdown, I was bored, with not much to do, so I created a baking blog called The Bored Baker. My goal was to make a new treat every day for 365 days and write a blog post about each one.
Even though the quarantine experience has been challenging, I have found ways to connect with my friends and family through baking. For example, I love calling my grandmother over Zoom and making traditional Indian recipes with her.
After a few months of blogging, I decided to share what I had learned by starting online baking camps. I was nervous and worried that I might not be a good teacher in a virtual setting. Yet the more camps I taught, the more comfortable and confident I became. I told funny stories about my baking failures and how I overcame them. I had to think on my feet to help kids who ran into problems during our sessions. My blog has been going strong for more than 365 days, and I am so grateful that I discovered baking and grabbed hold of this amazing experience!
Milo Ecker*, age 5
Randolph, New Jersey
I like to have fun at home. My daddy makes movies for work. We made a movie together. It's called Puzzled. It’s about me doing a puzzle. But I’m missing a piece. My little brother Elliot finds the piece! It’s a really good movie. Sometimes I do grown-up workouts with my mommy and daddy, so I’m super strong. I like when my daddy makes hot dogs on the grill outside for dinner. I didn’t go to school for a long time because there was a virus. Now I go to school. I learn science with my friends. I was in a play. I wore a costume. We wear masks whenever we’re at school. I bring a lot of masks in my backpack because I don’t like when my mask gets wet from spit.
*As told to TIME for Kids in an interview
TFK Kid Reporter Abby Rogers, age 11
I can’t believe all that has changed in one year. Like most schools, mine was shut down. Every day, the news would report about the virus spreading quickly throughout the world. It was scary for me because I have reactive airways disease. Because of my condition, my exposure to people outside of my family was limited.
While my world became physically smaller, my online world began expanding. To give me something to do, my aunt recommended scientific livestreams. I could learn from scientists all over the world. Now, my new best friends are explorers who educate me on the importance of climate change, kelp forests, cotton-top tamarins, and so much more!
The more I’ve learned, the more I’ve wanted to do something to help make the world a better place. I started by trying to become as eco-friendly as possible. I cut down on my single-use plastics, ate less meat, and became an avid recycler. I have recently gone back to school two days a week, and I’m super excited to be there. But I was a little concerned as to why there wasn’t a recycling bin in my classroom. My teacher kindly allowed me to bring one in!