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First, a story about me! I used to be a substitute teacher. I have even written a post about what a great job it is for a mother, which you can read here. Quite often I did long term positions, when a teacher had to be away for an extended period. Those times were usually in the primary grades,k-3. While I was teaching these young children, I learned a few tricks and techniques, one of which I am going to share with you today. It has to do with coloring! But before I share my trick, let's find out why kids should color.
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:
Color with your children! The Trick I used to Help Kids Focus.
When I was teaching, I used this simple trick that would help children to settle down and color. It also helped me to keep control of a class of many children who may have wanted to play around rather than sit and color their work.
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.
This trick can work even if you have only one child. Having a parent, (or grandparent), color with them will encourage children to stay on task longer and this in turn helps them learn to focus on what they are doing. Also, coloring together can be a great way to bond with your child. Find out what their favorite color is! Ask them why they chose that particular picture to color. My 21 month old granddaughter will color with me twice as long than she will on her own. And, she already knows all of her colors! Currently, her favorite color is blue. She likes to reach over and color on my page, too, but I don't mind! Ha ha.
Now a story about my mom!
When I was young, I remember my mom coloring in our coloring books. She used to like to take the pages that had a little scribble on them and "fix" them so that they looked beautiful. She later told me and my siblings that coloring was a way that she relieved stress when she was feeling particularly worried over something.
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!
Finally, coloring together gets your faces away from electronic devices and allows everyone to spend some time together creating something beautiful without even being an artist! And, coloring supplies are inexpensive and plentiful! Here are some of the supplies that I found at Dollar Tree today!
I like coloring books because they keep all of the art work contained in a book, rather than having pages scattered everywhere! But, if you would like, you can find coloring pages to print off with your printer and the cost will only be your ink! There are some Nay Sayers out there who don't approve of coloring books, but I have read their arguments. I don't believe that they have addressed all of the reasons given that encourage coloring as educational, beneficial and worth staying within the lines!
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!
If you want more than my word for it, here are some other sources that encourage coloring that you may want to check out!
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!
Creators of Hot Cocoa Bombs! (copyrighted)
Helen Reynolds: Mother of six children , grandmother to eleven! I love to cook, craft and create things and I especially love doing that with my family, So, when my lawyer daughter, Lindsey, my artist daughter, Madalynn, and I came up with the idea of Hot Cocoa Bombs, this blog was born. Then, one more daughter, with her technical and science skills, plus creativity has joined in to round us out! Read more about us here!