A drawing a day…our top 10 drawing activity ideas for families

A drawing a day won’t keep COVID-19 away report, Lauren Gardiner and Debbie Isaac, but it is a great activity for families in isolation. It’s educational and fun and requires materials most families will already have on hand.

Giving your children the opportunity and encouragement to draw during this time of major disruption to their lives may also help them express and process their thoughts and feelings about what is happening both in the world and at home.

I was reminded of the value of children drawing for this purpose when my nearly three year old daughter drew a picture of a person (she’s at the stage of forming tadpole shapes now) and enclosed it in another circle before explaining that the person “was trapped.”

Chalk-design-smallRace-track-smallIt’s been over three weeks now since the older children have been to school and three weeks since we’ve been out for our usual Saturday morning breakfast. In fact, the kids have barely left the house. So, yes, we are trapped – unable to see our friends and our extended family. Unable to go to parks or the beach. For parents struggling themselves to cope with worries about job security, finances and health, sitting down with your children to draw together could be exactly what is needed too.

Top 10 drawing activities for families

Here are our top 10 drawing activity ideas for families:

  • decorate boxes with windows to start a city scene or to create a bus or a car
  • write some letters of the alphabet in a large font. Then ask what they can become? “A” could be the top of a rocket. “B” could be a cat and so on…
  • try the above exercise with numbers. 4 and 8 provide a lot of opportunities…
  • what happens next? At the end of your child’s favourite TV show or book, ask what their favourite character does next?
  • trace around someone’s hands. What can they become? And what about someone’s feet? Two feet together might become a butterfly! This can also be good for a bit of a laugh if you or your child is ticklish!
  • draw outlines of Autumn leaves. Now decorate them together.
  • create composite creatures together by folding a page in three and asking one person to draw the head, another person to draw the body and a third person to draw the legs (or a tail!), each without reference to the other. Then give your oddly matched creature a name!Composite-creature-small
  • using black paper and white crayons or pencils, draw a night sky. Is there a shooting star? Are there any clouds?
  • using chalk on a concrete driveway or path, create a racetrack or a train track for driving scooters, remote control cars or trikes over.
  • again with chalk, work together to draw a garden or create symbols – love hearts, butterflies etc.

Connecting with isolated loved ones via drawing activities

There are also plenty of ways to get isolated grandparents, other family or friends involved in drawing activities from afar. And, while drawing is good for children, there are even more benefits when the activity is shared. In the COVID-19 pandemic, drawing activities made possible by post and email/text could provide a joyful and meaningful way to stay connected with isolated loved ones.

Here are our top three ideas for connecting over drawing activities during isolation:

  • send your drawings to family/friends via the post or photograph them and send them via email or text
  • play a game of Pictionary over Facetime, with one household drawing an object and the other household guessing as quickly as possible what it is
  • ask gran or grandpa to start a drawing by sketching a shape or squiggle and sending it via email or text message to print out and complete

Lauren Gardiner is a children’s author and a mum of three. Debbie Isaac is a paediatric occupational therapist (also a mum of three). Their initiative – Squiggle Kids – aims to inspire parents to draw with children. To find out more and be among the first to try their BRAND NEW printable drawing activity book for children (FREE for a limited time), visit

Just for kids: The Art Gallery of NSW Together in Art is asking kids to submit their artworks using materials you have at home, to make and share their own inner world with Australian artist Del Kathryn Barton.  Be imaginative, inspiring and adventurous. What you use is up to you.