Coloring with Kids: Teaching Creativity, Quiet Play, and Family Values All with One Coloring Book

Coloring inside the lines can lead to creativity elsewhere.
Coloring outside the lines can lead to creativity elsewhere. (Yes, this is my artwork.)

I’m a huge fan of art. I love to make it, view it, and above all, utilize it. The creation of artwork can be beneficial for every age, from child to adult, and it is a great way for parents to bond with their children. To me, the three biggest benefits of coloring with your children (or your clients’ children, if you’re a nanny), is that coloring teaches creativity, quiet play, and family values. All this – and more – from one 99 cent coloring book.

Okay, so teaching creativity seems a little obvious, right? Not always. When not dealt with correctly, coloring books can be a little restrictive for parents and kids to work on together. Children aren’t great at coloring in the lines. There are two ways you can deal with this: the creativity route, and the fine motor skills route. To encourage creativity, DO NOT make the kids color inside the lines. Let them use crazy colors for that spotted dog, and don’t get upset when the whale turns out pink with a princess crown drawn in. Allowing children to do whatever they want on the page is a great way to let their talents grow and shine, even if the pictures are less than perfect.

One of my favorite memories from childhood is coloring with my mother. She would get two identical coloring books and two boxes of crayons (the new ones are the best, obviously) and we would color side by side. She would color hers perfectly – even strokes, realistic color schemes, and always inside the lines. However, she didn’t put any restrictions on my coloring book. I could draw all over the page in black crayon if I wanted (I was a dramatic child. I still am). However, I started to want my pages to look like hers. I slowed down and tried to fill in the pictures perfectly. That taught me excellent fine motor skills, and the coloring was an excellent time for bonding with my mother. Plus, she got to relax and color a bit herself – who doesn’t like coloring?

One of the best things about coloring books is that they are quiet. Train your kids to love coloring, and you’ll have trained them in the valuable skill of quietly working on something they can be proud of. Plus, you can have a few minutes without screaming or shouting.

As I mentioned before, coloring together with your child is an excellent way to bond with them. Children are more willing to talk about their feelings when they are distracted, and you can talk to them just as easily. Sharing age-appropriate insights about your day with your child is a great way to help them understand more about the world and what you as an adult value about life.  It may seem simple, but I believe that quiet activities with parents is one of the greatest ways parents and children bond.

Not convinced yet? Check out this article on The 7 Benefits of Coloring, and then head to your local Target to get a coloring book (or four) and some new Crayola crayons. Happy coloring!

Up Next: Three Things to Remember When You Start a New Job

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