A Back-and-Forth Drawing Game

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Drawing Game with Kids 1

This is what Maia and I do when we are sitting at the bakery/coffee shop on the weekend waiting for our breakfast—we draw back and forth in the notebook I always carry in my bag. Harry is probably reading the New York Times, Daphne is playing in the toy corner, and I'm half writing my notes and to-do lists and half drawing with Maia. 

One of us starts the drawing and then we just take turns adding elements back and forth. Or, as in the drawing above, I start it (with the head circle) and Maia starts drawing and just doesn't stop.

Drawing Game with Kids 2

Other times we both contribute about evenly to the drawings. We add dialogue and thought bubbles for an added element of fun and interaction. And tic tac toe is a regular waiting game for us, with or without the drawings (as you can see throughout these pages…). 

Drawing Game with Kids 3

Drawing Game with Kids 4

Drawing Game with Kids 6

Drawing Game with Kids 7

Drawing Game with Kids 8

Do you play drawing games with your kids? If so, I'd love to hear about them! I'm always looking for new drawing game ideas…

P.S. In case you are wondering, I finished the first draft of the winter crafts ebook over the weekend (yay!) and have taken down most of the Christmas decorations. We're back to full-on autumn and Halloween here!

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  1. says

    This is lovely! I always play “boxes” with my 6yo. It’s a pad and paper game I used to play with my big sister. You start by drawing a line of dots, about 10 across. Then add another line of dots on the line below, and repeat until you have about ten dotty lines. To play, you take it in turns to draw one line linking two dots together. The lines can be horizontal or vertical but not diagonal. The aim is to close a square (or make a box) with the line you draw. If you make a square you pop your initial inside it, and get another turn. At the end,you add up the number of boxes each player has, and the winner takes all! It’s highly addictive so watch out! Erm, actually, it’s very hard to explain… Does this even make sense? It probably has a proper name and is very concisely explained somewhere…

  2. says

    I used to play the box game as well! I think we called it something to the effect of “the line and dot game.”
    Dad and I also used to play a game of, “Kill the ant.” The first person would draw an ant. The second person would draw something to kill the ant (anteater, can of spray, foot, hammer, etc). The first person would then draw something to thwart the ant killing attempt. Then the second person would draw something to thwart the attempt to thwart the attempt. And so forth. Usually things ended in large explosions.

  3. says

    This is really fun, and I am so glad you share these things with us–I never think of playful things like this. I always carry a small notebook in my purse and we could be doing this while waiting for appointments, etc. (though I *Always* have a kid’s book in there, too, which usually does get read… :)
    Something I’ve had fun doing with my kids are unfinished drawing prompts on our dry erase easel. I have gotten a lot of ideas from the Anti-Coloring Books, but often will make my own simple ones for my 3 year old, too. For example, one of the recent ones I did was drawing a stem with some grass around it and wrote underneath “What kind of flower is growing?” and she had to draw the flower…my kids eat stuff like that up! :) I try to have a new one every other day or so…
    Sarah M

  4. Karibean says

    LOVE! I teach this with 2nd graders in a unit about cooperation and they just love it. :) Thanks for sharing!

  5. Lucille says

    I teach kindergarten and we play “draw a rhyme”. I’ll say something like….”a cherry is the color red, now come up and draw a _ _ _ _” (head) then the second one could be, “Using brown, like a bear….come up and draw some curly _ _ _ _” (hair) They love this…..

  6. says

    My brother and I used to play this drawing game on car trips, back when you could actually sit next to each other (even though he was always on my side! MOOOM!). We called it “cooperation.” Only each person only could draw one line–once you lifted your pen, your turn was up.
    I also played “Dots” with my mom (with the boxes).
    My son likes to use the Crayola Dry Erase markers…we use on laminated pages, but an old teacher trick is to use it on a plastic 3-ring binder cover (slip pages into the cover slot), or on clear page sleeves…great ways to play many games with one photocopied sheet….
    I love Lucille’s rhyming game, above.

  7. says

    Great idea – thank you for this! I have a breakfast meeting in the morning and a small one who is going to tag along. You have given me hope beyond the mountain of toast I had planned…

  8. Marcie says

    We like to play the Surrealist game Exquisite Corpse. Each player needs a piece of paper and a pencil. Each artist draws the head of a person, robot, dog, or whatever at the top of a page. She folds the paper over so the neck is exposed but the rest of the drawing is hidden. Pass your paper to the player on your left. The second artist draws the torso, the third (or back to the first artist if only playing with your daughter) draws the legs, and the fourth draws the feet. Each player continues to fold over the drawing so the next artist can’t see what the previous artist has done. When done, you get to open the papers to see the crazy creatures. My girls love it. You can play this with 2+ players and my kids could do it from about age 3.

  9. Aileen says

    The taking-turns drawing idea is something that I have confidence I can do! My 5 year old daughter is an arts and crafts extraordinaire while I find the volume of materials, masses of ideas, and long lists of projects I would like to try completely overwhelming. For now, my daughter and our very crafty babysitter do most of the creating. I adore your blog but rarely pick up the materials and just do it. I can and will try this idea!!! Start simple, right? Thank you!!

  10. says

    This is a gorgeous idea. Normally I have a note pad, pens and textas in my handbag and both my kids will doodle away while we wait. We haven’t engaged in combined drawing games though – now we will have to as this is really just gorgeous.

  11. says

    I LOVE these pictures. We usually do the same but with storytelling instead of drawing. The stories almost always end up in the toilet (I have a 5 year old boy, after all), but the kids love it. I’ll have to try this with them, great for doctors offices and whatnot. We have also played the one drawing game where you draw a person – first person does the head and then leaves off at the neck and folds the paper down – looks like someone described it above as Exquisite Corpse (though I’m not sure I’d use that name with my kids).

  12. katie says

    person one starts the game by drawing two dots any distance apart on the page then connects the two dots. person one than draws two more dots and says to person two, “can you connect these two dots without crossing over THIS line?” person two connects the dots, draws two more dots and asks person one, “can you connect these two dots without crossing over ANY of the lines?” continue on and on. my 5 year old loves playing this with me and i try to make it more fun by squiggling my lines in all directions, wavy, curly, etc…. hope i typed the explanation clearly enough to attempt play- let me know!

  13. says

    My sister and I used to draw back and forth when we were kids! So fun to do it with your daughter :).
    ~Jessica (missyoungsartroom.blogspot.com)

  14. April says

    I love this idea! A great way to pass the time. I think when my boys stare at a blank page they can sometimes feel a little lost or intimidated. The back and forth drawing would be a great way to break the ice.
    You have a lovely blog! I found you through The Red Kitchen who posted a link to your site.

  15. Holly says

    This is AWESOME!!!! I do a version of this with my oldest. I will start a picture…maybe draw a tree or green hills, and then I leave it on her drawing area for her to add to, and we go back and forth til the picture is finished. We have some pretty amazing pictures!