A young child in care spent ages painting a rock blue, a present for his social worker.
The child got help from staff in the care home to paint it to remind his social worker of a game they played together – I Spy With My Little Eye.
“I use a colour because I don't know my letters yet,” the child explained in a winning short story for a competition organised by the Health Information and Quality Authority.
“I was really, really, really happy to give him the rock. I want to give him a hug but I can't because of the infection. We give each other a pretend hug.”
Hiqa's inspectors of children's services organised the competition for the children, inviting them to tell them how they were being creative or showing kindness during the coronavirus restrictions.
Children in residential care and special care units across the country provided by Tusla, and Oberstown Children Detention Campus, sent stories, poems, drawings and photos.
A group of young people in a care centre won first prize for doing more than just writing to older people isolating in a nursing home.
They put a parcel together for the older people as well as writing a letter of hope and it was packed with lots of stuff to keep them occupied.
The young people are also planning to donate a cake to their local disability service as part of their creative endeavours during the public health crisis.
A group of children who were second prize winners showed how cooking brought them together when the country was in lockdown.
They cooked special meals to celebrate Easter and the Muslim festival, Eid and showed photographs of the meals they created.
An older child bored because there was no school submitted a prize-winning doodle – a hand holding a lightbulb, a symbol of creativity and good ideas.
“Coronavirus has been a terrible time for lots of people. It made everything dark and boring.” the young person wrote.
“Without something to light everything up it would have been way worse. That's what I am trying to show in my doodle.
“The hand is everybody using their ideas and creativity to shine a light in the dark.”
The competition was organised by Bronagh Gibson, regional manager of Hiqa's children's team and she was impressed at the children's resilience.
The competition was open to the 114 children currently living in 33 children’s residential centres provided by Tusla, as well as the 17 children placed in three special care units also provided by the child and family agency and Oberstown Children Detention Campus.
Ms Gibson said they received 27 entries and two were group entries involving several children. Every child received a certificate and "goodies" in the post.
Some children would have no problem talking to team members but others preferred to express their feelings through art, stories and poems.
“Many of the entries that we received were about acts of kindness they had shown or had experienced. Children are really selfless. It was a lovely response.”
Ms Gibson said the competition showed how the children understood that Covid-19 was a dangerous infection but they felt safe where they were.
Some of the drawings were of superheroes fighting the virus and they showed how children depended on adults to protect them.