Scribble Scrimmage: The Squiggle/Scribble Game activity for kids

Scribble Scrimmage: The Scribble/Squiggle Drawing Game

October 23rd, 2018 in Scribble Scrimmage

It’s a constant battle trying to find activities for kids which adults actually enjoy…but the scribble game never gets old.

As a kid, I loved both WWF wrestling and Art Attack! If I wasn’t trying to snare my pals in a camel clutch I was drawing crude comics and cartoons. As an adult (and now a Dad!) I find myself regularly slumped on the couch trawling YouTube for clips of these nostalgic gems.

And on one of these late night binges the idea for a full contact, no holds barred scribble battle floated into my hands. I knew I could turn it into a show. Here is the first, rough pilot of my all-ages scribble game…presenting Scribble Scrimmage.



I’ve already made a few changes to this structure, maybe I will remove the judge’s scorecards and slow down the drawing scenes to give the viewer some time to think of their own ideas. Adding an onscreen timer might also work.

I’ve also been considering adding in some other art activity ideas into the show. Here is a huge list of Kids Arts and Crafts Activities to choose from.

Right now the plan is to continue the show and make a 15 episode series with each episode running 3 minutes.

Scribble game character

squiggle game crowd


How to play the Scribble Game

The essentials:

Player 1 makes a quick scribble for Player 2 who then must convert it into a new drawing by adding in details.

The scribble must be one continuous line; the pen or pencil cannot be lifted off the page.

For younger players, it is best to use colored pens to distinguish the original scribble from the transformations.

For beginners:

  • If your opponent is not feeling too confident in their artistic ability just yet, then let them convert the scribble into whatever they want. But you should keep in mind that providing a title actually makes it easier for those who feel a little awkward.
  • If you sense that the player feels uncomfortable, no matter what their age is, don´t agitate them…you must encourage them.
  • Sometimes it is best to show them how you would adapt the scribble into something easy like a face. Faces and cats seem to be the easiest!

For toughened scribblers:

  • Set a time limit for each round.
  • Specify exactly what you want to see. “Show me a cat!” or “Show me Batman eating an ice cream!”. You could also cut up a bunch of random words which can then be pulled from a hat to combine random double whammy titles like “Angry Potato” or “Caveman Lumberjack”
  • Try a round using your left hand! (or whatever your nondominant hand is)
  • Go minimal: limit the number of strokes the players can use on each scribble.

What’s in a name anyway? Is it a Squiggle or Scribble?

I’ve seen the scribble game described as  ‘The Squiggle Game’ or even just ‘Squiggle’ in some places. To me, a squiggle is a wavy line but there is no denying that  ‘squiggle’ is a close contender. Squiggle Stories are an increasingly popular classroom teaching tool and in the US it seems to be a widely used term.

I also considered ‘Doodle Battle’ but to me, a doodle is a finished or polished drawing which conveys a definite concept rather than the spontaneous, scribbled messes which I crave.

I went with ‘Scribble Scrimmage’ because ‘Scribble Battle’ is too broad and at the same time implies physical contact or something which is not kid-friendly.

“The Scribble Game” was the plain but descriptive title my grandparents bestowed on it. I was shocked when I heard that my friends played it too as I thought my Grandad invented the game. My brothers and I spent many rainy Sundays churning out reams of crazy, transformed scribbles and endless rounds of doodling in their house.

And it is one of the few games or art activities that still holds up. I still doodle on napkins in restaurants and throw it at friends with a command like “Show me Porky Pig!” and sit back to watch them spin it around, trying to find an angle.

My Grandad also invented an early form of Pokemon but that’s a whole other yarn!

Who will be the Season 1 Scribble Master? YOU? Ha! Yes, you can enter the contest too…if you have an eye for turning scribbles into pictures and want to compete against others please sign up here.

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