Monday, August 31, 2015

Coloring Competition

Over the summer I got to try out my plans for keeping things fun during roadtrips with two preschoolers. I had chosen all sorts of mechanically interesting things like packing an art cart to-go with ribbon, scissors, and tape. Coloring supplies for different coloring experiences like crayons, gel markers (for drawing vibrant things on dark paper), and scratch-off paper. Everything was received well but the activity that kept going for hours and hours was the coloring competition.

To start, I would make two sheets of paper with shapes. Each kid would get a piece. Then we would pick which shape to color. "Color the yellow star! On your mark, get set, go!" The children would color furiously to finish first. Sometimes there would be a clear winner, who would receive an M&M as the prize. Other times it would be less obvious who won. Anna might fill in the shape first but she had also colored outside the lines while Mikey would finish second with a carefully filled shape...or vice versa. In that case I gave a prize to each child and made the observation, "Anna you finished first but you scribbled outside the shape. And Mikey, I see you colored very carefully. You both win a prize."  

The game begins with two papers with the same shapes.
I loved this game because I got to be creative with the shapes I drew. I started simply enough with a square, a triangle, a circle and a pentagon. But then I could make blobs, stars, hearts, flowers. I could make whole scenes like the night sky or a coral reef or a forest. It kept me interested and the kids entertained.

I loved making different things for them to color. This is a coral reef with fish, a crab, a clam, and an anemone.
I also loved to see how they would add to the drawings after the competition was over. Mikey often connected things to be a power grid, factory, or something like that. (See below.) Anna liked to add stickers to hers. Astronauts and stars to the night sky, flowers to the forest, and the like.

Mikey's power grid.

There was so much play and so much learning that went on with this competition. First, it gave my children a chance to compete in a safe, entertaining way. Second, it gave us an opportunity to name shapes and colors, empowering the children with science and math language. Third, it turned out to be a way for my prompt to become something more than an invitation to compete. They took their papers further by opening their imaginations and adding to the drawings in their own unique ways.

All in all, it was a fun way to play in the car. Oh, I should mention that I was not behind the wheel!!

Materials needed for coloring competition:
- paper
- crayons/markers/pencils
- flat surface for child's lap on which to place paper while coloring
- stickers (optional)
- prize (optional), could be picking the next song, naming the shapes for the next competition, or even candy. ;)

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