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For young children, colouring in is more than just fun. This simple activity is also good for kids, improving hand-eye coordination and stimulating creativity.
Colouring in has long been a bona fide boredom-buster but experts have now realised its full potential. It is also good for kids because when they colour in, the activity does double duty as an educational and emotional tool. When they start to shade and scribble, young children learn essential skills for the future.
According to research, colouring in has a de-stressing effect on the brain. The gentle and repetitive nature of colouring in soothes and relaxes the amygdala – the brain’s fear centre. Colouring for children has a similar effect to meditation, in that it keeps the mind calm and quiet and encourages mindfulness.
A recent study from the University of Otago found that just 10 minutes of colouring in each day had a significant positive effect on adults’ mental health. So imagine the impact it could have on your kids, who are busy with the business of growing up, doing homework and fitting in with their friends.
Setting aside some dedicated colouring in time each day can be a good thing for kids, in addition to it being a lot of fun. Help them pick a colouring book with a theme they love – there’s a huge range available from Peppa Pig and Frozen II to pirates and construction – and encourage them to colour a page when they get home from preschool or after completing their homework. Older kids might prefer to create their own art with a quality drawing pad and art pencils or pastels.
In their early years, it can be helpful to expose kids to activities that model school-like conditions. Sitting down to focus on a task like a colouring activity is good practice and allows little ones to slow down and work on their patience and attention span. Regular colouring practice will set them up for a future of learning and working without distractions.
First Creations Easi-Grip Crayons 12 Pack; Crayola My First Crayons 24 Pack; Crayola Triangular Pencils 48 Deskpack; Faber-Castell Kindergarten Wax Crayons 96 Pack; print out large-format colouring-in pages instore.
By emphasising the gradual growth of their skills, you can encourage kids to be persistent and enjoy small rewards along the way. Remember, patience doesn’t always come naturally to young children; they really need to work on it! Colouring in can also help develop visual literacy skills – kids in early childhood are encouraged to look critically at images and they may be using techniques like tracing, matching and discovering bright colours, shapes and patterns.
Revealing a picture with a dot-to-dot colouring book is a fun way to help early learners develop fine motor skills and enhance their numeracy and literacy skill as they follow the alphabet or numbers to connect the dots. Once all the dots are connected, they can settle down with easy-grip markers or pencils to colour in the resulting picture, making it rewarding as well as fun.
It might not be rocket science but colouring in can contribute to healthy brain function and development. Regular colouring in sessions can also help develop a child’s spatial awareness, developing a sense of relationships between objects. Through colouring, children learn to identify boundaries and will come to understand important concepts like “above”, “between” and “below”.
Experts now suggest that all kids should be working on their spatial skills from early on as they’re important in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). You heard it here first: hand them a colouring book, get them colouring in and you may see a future architect emerge.
When kids colour in, they’re picking up pencils, coloured markers and crayons, which is teaching children to use their hands in new and more difficult ways. Developing the muscles in their fingers, hands and wrists is crucial as so many tasks in the future, including writing and typing, will require hand strength.
First Creations Easi-Grip Crayons 12 Pack; Crayola My First Crayons 24 Pack; Crayola Triangular Pencils 48 Deskpack; print out large-format colouring-in pages instore.
The more they practice colouring in, the more confident kids become in using writing implements. They can practise proper pencil grip and establish the essential foundations for learning to write. Teaching children to establish a good pencil grip will help them later to write legibly, at speed, for an extended period of time. One of the benefits of colouring is that it enhances fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, so it provides many of the necessary building blocks for school.
When you think of colouring in, don’t just think standard pencils and crayons. There are so many clever options. To help little hands get a grip, try easy-grip triangular pencils with a no-roll shape that helps promote the correct grip or pebble crayons which are non-toxic and have a round grip that’s perfect for beginners.
Colouring in encourages creativity and self-expression. This simple activity allows kids the freedom to experiment and make choices – how will they colour and what tools will they use? Each child can take a basic black and white design and transform it into their own unique masterpiece. Along the way, they’re gaining confidence and feeling a sense of achievement in seeing their skills develop.
Start them off with simple shapes and slowly work towards more intricate and detailed colouring pages. There are so many colouring books available now, catering to all skill levels and personal interests. There’s literally a colouring book for everyone! There are also educational benefits of colouring in. Children learn to identify and name all the colours – something kids should be working on from the age of 2.
Colouring is good for kids of all ages – it’s therapeutic and allows them to process their feelings. For young children experiencing unpleasant or confusing emotions, colouring can serve as an outlet for venting their frustrations and worries. Try not to interfere by suggesting colours to use or helping them to stay in the lines; colouring in is meant to be fun and stress-free and most children learn that skill on their own in time.
Colouring is a low-cost and pressure-free activity – there are no instructions to follow and no set-up required. You can whip out a colouring book and coloured pencils absolutely anywhere. And it’s good old-fashioned fun without a screen in sight.
Colouring is fun for adults too – why not try colouring in together as a family? It may just lead to spontaneous opportunities for reflection and connection. Young children will develop their own skills from observing you. Ask lots of questions, offer praise and strengthen those family bonds. Get your kids interested in colouring in their early years and you’ll promote a lifetime of positive benefits. Try a giant colouring book so everyone can get in on the act.