“Garfield Goose 1953 book at home in castle” by Frazier Thomas. Copyright 1953 by Personality Features. – eBay item photo. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Garfield_Goose_1953_book_at_home_in_castle.jpg#/media/File:Garfield_Goose_1953_book_at_home_in_castle.jpg
My kids are young and they enjoy art. They have a fine art teacher (a dear friend of mine), and that translates into enjoying art in school hours and at leisure. When they were younger, we routinely bought coloring books and printed out coloring worksheets for them. Now as they are growing up, they do more explorative free hand art.
The influences on art
After watching movies or TV shows, they love drawing out their favorite characters and coloring them. But, the coloring workbook still makes its appearance quite frequently. Sometimes they also pull out their old coloring sheets to see the colors spilling out, evidence of the uncontrolled joy of early childhood coloring!
Coloring for all
Some months ago, I read an article in the Huffington Post about coloring not being just for kids. How true! There is one family activity we all still enjoy – on a large sheet of paper, we all take turns to add a small drawing, to make a cohesive whole. We might start with a tree and at the end we might have a park with swings, flower beds, stick kids, stick adults, toys etc. Everything drawn in is also colored in. When my older one was still a toddler, I remember coloring along. Filling in the printed designs was great fun!
Psychologists say coloring reduces stress levels in adults by getting their creativity flowing and taking them into a comfort zone from childhood when they naturally had less stress. If the adult’s stressed mind, seeking happier times from childhood, finds it in the humble coloring activity, it translates into a fact, parents, teachers and caregivers must never forget – coloring activities can never be overemphasized.
From the past to the present
In most older cultures, drawing an outline and then filling it in with color was there in some form or the other, using chalks, paints, vegetable dyes or even powdered colors. Even ancient cave art reflected this. It was a way to express what was in the mind.
In the modern education model, it has translated into the coloring activity. All early education models include the coloring activity. In fact, observant teachers notice trouble that a child might have through their artwork. Psychologists study a child’s coloring and art to get clues to a troubled child’s state of mind. Working with children and their drawings is a vast area of study in itself.
The creative result of coloring is enjoyed by all who see it, and like any art, people enjoy seeing it many times over. That is the reason it hangs on classroom walls and on home fridges with such regularity. Kids take it home with pride in their achievement, even as teachers see yet another batch of kids moving to the next stage in their development.
Three reasons the humble coloring activity can never be overemphasized in children:
1. Coloring is engaging and even absorbing, as it is primarily a creative outlet. The involvement trains their mind to stay focused.
2. From historic times it has been believed that color is a reflection of the state of mind, which therefore gives coloring a therapeutic effect.
3. Children learn to be patient and persevering (which is important in these short attention-span years), as they work on coloring activities which they complete.
Corinne Jacob is a writer who is convinced that kids learn best when they’re having fun. She is constantly on the lookout for new and exciting ways to make learning an enjoyable experience. Corinne loves all things that scream out un-schooling, alternative education and holistic learning.