Cheating on coloring contests: impossible, right?

Filed under: Just For Moms, Toddlers Preschoolers, Preschoolers

I won a coloring contest when I was 7, and it's one of the few events from my childhood that I remember with vivid clarity. I think I persuaded the judges with the improvised sparkle I'd inserted on to the mouth featured in the picture (the coloring contest was sponsored by a Dentist's office), because it certainly wasn't my ability to color in the lines that won me third place. I received a 20 dollar gift certificate to a local drug store as a reward, plus a third place ribbon. I bought a plastic tea set I lost immediately and my green ribbon lived push-pinned proudly on my wall for months.

Until last night, I'd kind of thought that strip-mall store coloring contests had gone the way of Garbage Pail Kids and Tubble Gum. But as we were exiting the drug store last night, a cashier smiled and looked at Nolan.

"Would you like to color for the Cadbury Easter contest? You could win a big chocolate gift set!"
Nolan looked suspicious. I looked suspicious. How big was big?
"Entries must be in by next Sunday,"said the clerk, handing Nolan a black-and-white picture of a bunny holding tulips and a mouse holding a decorated egg. He gave me the three crayons.

"Thanks,"I said, absently looking at the wall behind him, where dozens of other finished entries were already displayed.
"Come here Nolan, come look at these,"I said, and walked over to the wall to take a closer look.

Madison, 4, had apparently created a masterpiece using sparkle, felt, and circular stickers, all meticulously placed within the lines. A four year old did that? I thought.
Henry, 7, was apparently a budding artistic genius, with bold colors and added word bubbles, with impossibly neat handwriting.

Some of the others were messy, scribbly concoctions that I'd be more likely to define as actual drawings by kids still getting the hang of the crayon. It made me wonder if parents were helping their kids win coloring contests. That seems so wrong, and impossible -- but I think there's some parent cheating going in coloring contest suburbia. Surely a plastic tea set or a big old bag of chocolates is worth it?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.