“It’s like recon for me,” the actress and comedian, 53, tells PEOPLE. “It’s kind of like getting a look into their little brains.” Like any true art critic, she watches out for symbolism and hidden meanings in their work. “I’m trying to figure out ‘What do I have here, what’s going on? Is anyone drawing a knife?'”
Fortunately, Sykes and her wife Alex’s daughter Olivia and son Lucas’s doodles often include princesses and dragons rather than anything PG-13.
The quality bonding time is an added bonus. Sykes adds, “As a parent, it’s just good to sit down together and keep them busy and do something together as a family.”
Sykes recently went up against Busy Philipps in a DIY challenge of her own, showcasing her painting skills. “I came to win,” Sykes says. “I’m very competitive.”
With her admitted confidence, though, comes a “realistic” streak that she actively passes on to her children. “With my kids, it’s more about competing,” she says. “If my daughter sees that she’s not going to win or it’s not going her way then she wants to quit. And I keep pushing her, and say, ‘It’s not about winning. It’s about competing, being out there having fun and trying and working as a team.’”
But that doesn’t mean Sykes isn’t hoping for a W. “Deep down, hell yeah I want her to win,” she says. “But I can’t tell her that!”
To watch Sykes battle it out with Philipps, watch the full video above.