Following 2019’s success of our first ever Healthy Young Minds (HYM) initiative, we had planned to run this year’s HYM campaign in schools across the nation. Of course, a certain global pandemic had other ideas.

At first, we wondered whether we would go ahead with it, but soon realised that HYM was needed more than ever this year. With schools closed, parents having to juggle work plus home schooling and the whole world having to tackle a huge issue, we thought turning HYM digital could be a fantastic idea. And it was.

Now that our esteemed panel has judged the hundreds of entries and awarded our worthy winners, what are we taking away from Healthy Young Minds 2020: Coronavirus edition?

Children absorb everything

It is often said that children are like sponges, having to constantly receive and process new information about the world around them. Perhaps at no time more than now – the world as they know it quickly changed, and continues to change, due to this new and confusing virus.

Many of this year’s entries were clearly inspired by scientific and governmental advice surrounding Coronavirus and stopping its spread. Information they’ve no doubt overheard as their parents watch the news, talk at the dinner table etc.

Distancing gadgets, disinfectant guns and temperature-checking eyes were among the creative and scientifically inspired ideas we saw.

Mental Health is on their radar from a young age

One of our winning entries was ‘Mr Snuggles – the calming bear for anxious children.’ From lavender scented fur to buttons on its paws that play calming nature sounds when pressed, every element was cleverly designed to soothe anxiety.

This bear was created by an eight-year-old.

Our team at Create range from our twenties to our fifties, and none of us were conscious of mental health at the age of 8, and indeed not for many years after that.

We think it’s wonderful that this generation of children are so aware of mental health. It’s such an important and long ignored topic, and we hope this awareness and care from a young age translates to better management of mental health in years to come.

Creativity wasn’t hampered by lockdown

Without much of the usual stimulation that school and ‘normal’ life provides – colourful classrooms, group discussions, playtime – it would be easy to assume that the children’s entries this year may have been creatively stifled.

We found quite the opposite to be true. The entries we received were not only fabulously creative, but often objectively brilliant, even through the eyes of an adult. One entry was even built in Lego to help illustrate the idea.

On top of this, many entries were clearly inspired by important discourse – from physical health and mental health, to the environment – being had across the globe.

They say Shakespeare wrote King Lear while under ‘lockdown’ during the plague. And this year’s brilliant kids of HYM lend credence to the idea that great creativity flourishes during adverse and uncertain times.

There’s a lot to be said for simplicity

As adults, we often approach problems armed with the full weight of what we know, what’s been done before, what we see others do. As a result we can over-complicate issues and end up with complicated solutions.

Young children? Not so much.

They tend to see things more simply and are therefore much better at being single-minded in their problem-solving. One rather brilliant Coronakid – by a 6-year-old called Theo – simply carries a ray-gun that ‘turns germs into butterflies.’

What a wonderful world that would be! And more to the point, could technology explore ways to convert virus particles into something less dangerous and more pleasant? Absolutely.

With age, comes detail

One thing we noted with delight was the level of attention to detail that developed among the children as they get older.

From around the age of 8 and over, explanations and annotations became far more frequent and detailed. The children were quite clearly spending serious time on the constituent parts of their entries and were applying a logic to their creative ideas.

On some entries from the older children, almost all of the white space of the paper was filled with various notes and explanations, helping their idea be more readily brought to life.

Enough said about the creative ideas – you can take a look at some of the brilliant winning entries for yourself here.

Healthy Young Minds will return in 2021 – bigger and bolder. So if you’ve got an idea for a brief that needs a child’s take on it email [email protected]