Two thirds of children (63%) have uncovered a new skill since March – with baking (20%), exploring (16%) and gardening (16%) topping the list of talents.
That’s according to a new study of 1,000 children aged 5-15, released in line with the launch of The 2020 Explore Learning Writers’ Awards.
Presenter and ‘Kid Normal’ author Greg James will judge this year’s awards which is open to children aged between 4-14.
All stories must relate to the 2020 theme of ‘Hidden Talents’ and be no more than 500 words long.
The findings show that despite the majority of children describing the time spent at home this year as ‘different’, many made progress over the last few months. More than a quarter (29%) discovered new things they’re good at during lockdown and over a third (37%) say they learnt new ways to keep themselves entertained.
And these hidden talents are wide-ranging. Tech-based skills like gaming (13%) and coding (9%) made an appearance along with some more compassionate ones, including volunteering (10%) and talking to new people (11%).
Mums and dads agreed on the positives too. Two thirds (66%) say their children have matured and half of parents stated that their children have become more compassionate (49%) and emotionally intelligent (54%). The benefits of writing were also highlighted in the findings, with over three quarters (77%) of parents saying that creative writing helps unlock their child’s imagination.
Imagination is exactly what Greg James is keen to see as head judge for this year’s award. Running from Monday 28 September until the closing date, Wednesday 28 October, entries will be judged based on creativity, rather than spelling, grammar or technical factors, giving children the chance to let their imaginations run wild – whether that’s telling the tale of new talents discovered during lockdown or something completely out of this world.
There will be a winner selected from Key Stages 1, 2 and 3, with the prizes available including an iPad, Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil PLUS £250 in experience vouchers towards their own passion and talents. There will also be an overall competition winner selected from the top three who will win an additional 13” Macbook Pro, an additional £750 in experience vouchers and £500 worth of books for their school.
Greg James said of the awards: “Hidden Talents is a brilliant theme for this year’s Explore Learning Writers’ Awards. Whenever I meet young readers, I love finding out what secret skills or knowledge they have. Our characters in the Kid Normal series are full of surprises and I’m always amazed at how wild and fearless our reader’s imaginations are too. My advice for this competition is to let your mind run wild, there’s no such thing as an idea that’s too silly or fantastical. Writing is one of the most enjoyable things you can do with your brain, so… have fun!”
Bill Mills, CEO of Explore Learning, said: “We’re thrilled that our Writers’ Awards are back for another year to celebrate young writers across the UK – from budding authors of the future to those who just enjoy telling stories and want to give it a go. Having Greg James as our guest judge this year is sure to add even more fun and excitement, and there are some fantastic prizes up for grabs too. We’re looking forward to seeing all the entries, showcasing the imagination and creativity young people possess.”
To enter, children will need to submit their stories via the Explore Learning Writers’ Awards homepage, at explorelearning.co.uk/writersawards. Terms and conditions can also be found on this webpage.