My mom told me that I have been coloring ever since my chubby little fingers could manage holding crayons and scribbling onto paper. I remember countless piles of coloring books as a child as well. In this digital age it is easy to forgo the mess of crayons and torn pages and opt for a tablet or something similar that has a coloring app.
To this I say, just say no.
Toddlers need to learn to manipulate drawing and writing tools in order to build motor skills and dexterity. Bilateral coordination and fine motor coordination are built up by coloring, cutting, gluing, coloring within the lines, and using the hands together in general. Moving one’s finger around a touch pad does not provide the same experience. So get those crayons and coloring books, and keep plenty on hand because building motor skills and dexterity are not the only benefits of coloring.
There is a certain kind of peace involved in bringing a black and white drawing to life by adding colors in just the right places. This peace can be felt at any age. I felt it when I was a toddler, when I was a ‘tween, and as an adult with young children. Self-regulation is taught through the patience it takes to carefully color an entire page. Self-esteem is built upon the completion of their very own work of art, and is enforced when you tack that art to the wall or the fridge. There are benefits for you, the adult, as well.
Coloring is now a recommendation for stress management in adults! What a perfect excuse to get your own coloring book and stash of crayons. I prefer markers myself. If you don’t find a coloring book to your liking wherever you purchase your children’s coloring books, there are adult centered coloring books available online at Amazon.com.
The public response to the adult themed (in terms of complication and level of coloring difficulty, not X-rated materials) has made even me want to tap into my creative side and draw out my own coloring book! Of course, I was coloring with my kids before it was cool. We just happen to call it “art therapy” and some wonderful works have been created by the ages of 3, 7, 9, and 39.
So go out and buy some coloring books. Worried about costs? Dollar stores have so many to choose from with a really reasonable price tag. Don’t forget the crayons, colored pencils, markers, or whatever else you want to use. Color within the lines, not to conform, but to relax. Giggle. Chat about random things while you color. Teach your children the importance of creative expression while reminding yourself and embracing your own inner child. It’s fun, don’t take my word for it, try it yourself!