How do you keep your kids occupied while teaching them about COVID-19 without scaring them?
It’s a tricky question, and one that’s made an author out of Vancouver mother of two Amanda Marshall.
Marshall has written a free children’s book called Rock Monsters, aimed at helping to explain the recent big changes in the world to kids, while creating an activity for them.
The story describes a kaleidoscope of different-coloured “rock monsters,” each of whom represents a different message during COVID-19.
“Different monsters have different meanings. Green monsters remind us to keep our bodies healthy and strong,” she explained. “Red monsters remind us to wash our hands.”
Other monsters help kids remember to stay positive, to think of health-care workers and to be good for their parents.
Marshall got the idea after taking her three-year-old daughter out to collect and paint rocks recently.
She posted the ensuing “rock monsters” to Instagram, and was overwhelmed with the response. That got her thinking about how the project could have a bigger impact.
Marshall has dabbled in writing kids poetry for her children and nieces and nephews, but this is her first offering to the world at large.
“I just stayed up one night after the kids went to bed, and it just came out,” she said.
“It’s a fun project for kids, you find some rocks and you paint whatever monsters you want.”
Since putting the story up online for free and sharing it over social media, she said she’s been inundated with people’s rock monsters from around B.C. and the world.
She said the message has resonated with parents who, like her, have struggled to explain why their kids can’t visit with friends or go to school or the store.
It’s also helped them feel connected to their nieghbours, who have started making rock monsters of their own.
“Even though we’re physically distant right now, we’re all still connected.”
-With files from Nadia Stewart