The Case For Coloring
When I first began learning about curriculum planning back in 2009, I was taught that coloring books and pages were not good for development. I stopped using the immediately. At the time, I was a lead teacher for a before and after school program and I felt like the worst educator in the world.
Three years later, I was back in the nanny industry and had two precious little girls that I nannied and planned curriculum for. At first, we did not use any coloring pages. The girls really loved to color so I gave in and began printing coloring pages for them. I felt like I was doing something wrong in allowing them to color so I began researching it. What I found is that allowing children to use coloring pages, is something that is widely debated. Some research suggest that coloring is good for fine motor skills, other research suggest it doesn’t make a difference. Some research suggests that coloring squashes creativity, while other article refute that claim. For every negative claim that I have seen, I have found an article that argues against that claim and vise versa.
What is the answer then?
Is coloring developmentally appropriate or not?
To find the answer, I had to look inside myself. I loved coloring as a kid and still do love it today as well as other forms of art. For my personal art, I paint, sketch, and color with pastels. Two main things that I personally learned from coloring pages are drawing and shading. I would trace my pictures multiple times till my hands learned the shape, then I would outline an entire image really dark and color it lighter and lighter until I got to the middle. Coloring is very absent-minded for me, whereas sketching is very focused. Based on my own experiences, I find it important to give kids plenty of opportunities to both color pre-drawn images and to create art as they see fit.
Color Psychology list ten benefits to coloring which I have found to be true. You can find them here: Color Psychology
If you look, I am sure that you will find research that dispels these benefits but I encourage you to observe the benefits for yourself.