Kids’ take on pandemic

Children mimic what they have observed. Through role-playing activities, they try to make sense of the world around them. 

So it may be only natural that the COVID-19 pandemic has permeated young children’s play, with foreign words like “corona,” PCR and vaccine firmly in their vocabulary now. 

Here are some of social media feeds that show how young kids are having fun in the COVID-19 era.

The “PCR” play 

Plastic straws for nasal swab sticks. Pieces of paper cut in a rectangular shape with what appears to be letters T and C drawn on it. Kids at day care are acting out the COVID-19 home-test that they are required to take once or twice a week for some time now. 

On social media, several parents a users have testified on the popularity of a mock COVID-19 test, which kids themselves call the “PCR play.” PCR stands for a polymer chain reaction test, which was until recently the only diagnostic test of COVID-19 recognized by the authorities here.   

This Instagram post @lay_haruhana shows two boys acting out the PCR play, with the boy on the left playing the role of a health care working doing a nasal swab on his friend with a cotton stick at an undisclosed day care center. 

Twitter @JaesikKwak shares a picture of a mock COVID-19 self-test kit made with plastic straws and paper by some children.

Stuffed toys stand in line waiting to get the PCR test, as a kid recreate a testing center at home, in a post uploaded in a mom’s online community on Naver.

A video on YouTuber Marble Balloon Shop shows two children acting out the scenes at the COVID-19 testing facilities, doing the swab on a paper doll and with plastic gloves on. 

Testing is not everything in the COVID-19 fight. Disinfection of potentially contaminated areas is also important, shows this child by playing the role of a quarantine worker, using an air balloon pump as a prop. 

COVID-themed stationeries

The invasion of COVID-19 in the children’s world is palpable at stationery shops, with a range of pandemic-inspired school supplies and toys. 

Mechanical pencils resemble syringes, with words vaccine and COVID-19 written on the package. Erasers take the shape of round tablets of Tyrenol.

Walkie talkie toys as seen in this Nave blog have also recently gained popularity for children who have to communicate with their parents and family members across the room door or wall due to virus infection.

By Choi Jae-hee (

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