Coloring Books are all the rage right now.
There are adult coloring books that highlight nature and animals. There are book-based offerings for Harry Potter, Doctor Who, and all sorts of fandoms. You can put your own spin on masterpieces from Van Gogh or Monet. You can color intricate Celtic knots, mandalas, and even tattoo designs. The benefits are boasted as providing tranquility, calmness, creativity, and happiness. There’s something special about taking time out of our day to do that we might not have done in years. It makes something old feel new.
So what about our kiddos? “Well, coloring books ARE new to them, Sarah,” you say? Raise your hand if you have a child who gets a new coloring book, then proceeds to color a tiny portion (or a lot, but very quickly) on each page, then says he’s done and wants a new book? My son is only 2, but he does that masterfully. Not to mention that if you give him a coloring book, his favorite pages are the inside of the front and back covers (read: blank pages!).
While I still love coloring books for him (and am trying to teach him to enjoy each page), we discovered a better solution from a friend… BLANK COPY PAPER.
Don’t get me wrong, he loves coloring books, especially if there’s images of trains or trucks or “Hulk Smash,” but put a blank piece of paper in front of him and he becomes more than a color-er. He’s the creator of whatever image forms on that 8 ½ x 11 sheet.
Okay, yes, I have some Mom-bias, but it’s completely true! Put a blank
canvas paper in front of him and he takes his time using multiple colors and stretches his crayons along each corner. He draws his lines and loops his circles. He enjoys stippling and tries to write his name, spelling each letter out loud (He only has 4 letters in his first name, but it’s still an accomplishment, says Momma Bear) with random shapes, beaming in pride as he sees me beaming right back him. Coloring becomes an experience, not just something he tries to “get through.”
And it’s cheaper too! You might be thinking, “Uh, but I get my coloring books at the Dollar Store.” Most of the Dollar Store coloring books only have about 24 pages (some have more but are mostly filled with activity sheets that a toddler or non-reader can’t do just yet), so that works out to about $ 0.42 a page. Not bad. But when you consider the fact that you can get 500 sheets to a ream of copy paper for about $ 0.015 a sheet (that’s less than 2 pennies!), it helps your wallet in the long run too!
Have you tried this? I’d love to hear from you! Show me your kids’ artwork on my Facebook page!