Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Episode Fourteen: Drawing Competition

When I grew up there were four things I loved to do: play Lego, play Matchbox cars, jump on the trampoline and draw. Interestingly enough, I still like all of these things.

Drawing is such a cool activity for younger people. There is something about being able to create something from nothing on a blank page. A squiggle here, a squiggle there and you have a masterpiece. As you grow up, and you may notice this in your children, they start to think about how things should look and that magic goes away. 

One activity we do with our children is drawing competitions. It may sound weird; adding a competitive element to something so creative and so subjective, but for some reason it works. It's not a race, it's not about accuracy - it's about imagination and technique. Here's how we do it:

Each person takes a turn suggesting what everyone should draw. This may take a bit of practice because a great suggestion can make or break a round. Get as silly as you can. Get as descriptive as you want. I usually go first to give them an idea of what is a suitable suggestion. An adjective and a noun works great: A statue made of cheese. From there, everyone draws their own interpretation of the suggestion.

The winner of the round isn't who drew it first or who drew exactly what was suggested (although maybe if it's a abstract suggestion that would be worthy of a win) - someone could win for the colours they used. For their approach. It's all about encouraging your children to enjoy drawing. To show them it's not about whether your drawing looks realistic. It's about the fun of drawing. It's about showing your children that there is merit in every work and a good artist isn't necessarily a photo-realistic artist.

Go around in a circle so everyone gets a go making a suggestion. Maybe the person who makes the suggestion can also be the judge? I'm sure you can figure out something that works for your age groups.

Here are some rounds from a recent game we played to illustrate my point (ha!):

"A Space Chicken" (from L-R) Literal drawing by Dad. A chicken in a space suit saying 'Rawk' by middle boy. A colourful chicken with a rainbow head by youngest boy. Winner: Middle boy for awesome space suit and cool planet Earth.

"A Super Space Ship" (from L-R) A UFO wearing a cape because it's super by Dad. A humongous green and brown space ship by youngest boy. A cool spaceship with a power source and defensive shield by middle boy. Winner: Youngest boy for sheer size of the ship.

"A Parrot With A Robotic Body Part" (from L-R) Parrot with remote control beak by Dad. Liam the cyborg bird by middle boy. A bird with bugs around it youngest boy. Winner: Dad for imagination.

As you can see, the sky is the limit and that way, everyone kicks a goal! Give it a crack. The best part about this activity is that you don't even have to be good at drawing (which is a great confidence booster for kids in the 'I can't draw phase') and it rewards imagination and participation.

If you give this activity a go, please consider posting your results on our Facebook page. The boys and I love checking out artwork. 

Have fun!

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