I have heard some people wonder why coloring is something that children need to do in school. Can it really be considered educational, or is it just fun? I am here to tell you that coloring for children is a very important step in their education and development and you should start your children coloring as soon as they can hold a crayon. (Just monitor them and keep them away from walls!) Here are some of the reasons why coloring is important:
- Coloring helps strengthen a young child's grip, preparing them to hold a pencil correctly and to have hand strength for many other tasks in life.
- Coloring helps children develop their fine motor skills. They become more coordinated as they learn to manipulate that crayon. Coloring also aids in hand-eye coordination.
- Coloring helps a child learn to focus on the task at hand. If they start young enough, they will begin to lengthen the amount of time that they will spend concentrating on finishing their picture. (I'll share how I helped young children focus better in a minute.)
- When children color, they begin to become more creative. They must choose colors. Even though they are learning to stay in the lines, which will help with writing later on, they can make creative choices for their project. When a child finishes a coloring project and is praised, it builds his or her self esteem.
- Early aged coloring can be a great way for a child to learn their colors. Sometimes the coloring my be a color by number sheet or other code. These can help with learning numbers and problem solving.
- Learning to stay in the lines helps a child to learn boundaries and why sometimes those boundaries must be followed for the desired results. So, the child must learn self control. They also learn when it is okay to change the boundaries. For example, adding a sun or flowers to a picture of a house is perfectly acceptable. Sometimes it is a great idea to ask children to add something more to a picture, making it their own.
- Coloring is calming and stress relieving.
Most of the time, the children would be sitting at tables or in groups of desks together. If they had a coloring project that they were supposed to be working on, I would tell them that I was going to be coloring with them. I was looking for the group that was coloring the most quietly and getting their work done. Then, I chose one group and joined them for a little while. After a couple of minutes, I would move to another group. The children loved to have me sit and color with them. They would all get so quiet. I would go to a group and politely ask if I could borrow a certain color of crayon to color my picture with. Then I would talk to them in whispers about the things we were coloring as we did the work. They would watch me color and compliment my work. I would tell them little tricks for staying in the lines and model how the work was to be done. After a couple of minutes, with the rest of the class anxiously waiting for their turn, I would move on to another group. At times I would go back to a group where I had already been if they were doing particularly well. This technique worked like a charm to get even those who disliked coloring to stay on task. If someone got silly or loud, the rest of their group would remind them that they wanted a turn to color with me. I usually didn't have to say anything except give compliments on how well they were all doing.
Well, it turns out that my mother knew a thing or two about relieving stress. Coloring for adults is a therapeutic way to relieve stress and to help them focus on the task at hand rather than worry about things out of their control. Many behavioral health units have coloring pages for their patients to help them relax and de-stress. This is also why adult coloring books have become so popular today. Coloring in a picture may not replace a therapist, but it really can calm some frazzled nerves!
The final reason to color together with your kids is that coloring pictures of your favorite characters or beautiful designs can be fun and stress free! So, for Fun Friday, take some time with your kids and do some coloring! It will be rewarding for all!
Journal Art Therapy Journal of the American Art Therapy Association
The OT Toolbox https://www.theottoolbox.com/benefits-of-coloring-with-crayons-fine-motor-visual-perception/
If your kids are really young and you worry about your walls, here are some really good alternatives!