All kids like to color, but there are important reasons to encourage and guide this activity beyond the simple hedonistic impetus to have fun.
Coloring Builds Fine Motor Skills
Perhaps the biggest benefit children get from coloring pages of animals or their favorite cartoon characters is the development of fine motor skills. This includes learning the proper way to hold the crayon, marker or colored pencil they are using to draw with. When supervising young children learning how to color use gentle instructions to encourage them to hold the writing implement near the tip, cradled between the tips of their thumb, index finger and middle finger. Many children grab the crayon in their fist. Correcting this improper usage is an important first step towards real penmanship.
Beyond the skill of holding a crayon or pencil properly, learning to keep the lines drawn on the coloring pages is another example of fine motor skills. This is a more advanced concept, and may well take several years for the child to fully be able to accomplish, so only positive comments should be made on your youngsters coloring attempts in this regard. It is better to have them enjoy coloring and want to do it often then become discouraged by negative feedback and harsh criticisms.
Moral Education Through Coloring Pages
Christian parents can easily find many free Bible coloring pages online. Even if your family is not religious it is important for children to understand religious concept, icons, and events from the Bible. This is an issue cultural education, not just a moral foundation. In a broader perspective these images can be used as a starting point for conversation on moral topics in general. Of course coloring pages depicting Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist and even Humanist principles are freely available online. Beyond these simplistic and often jingoistic sources, a foundation for a broader moral education can be found if parents use a little creativity in their search. Many state government departments offer free couloring sheets promoting good citizenship. For example the State Department of Environmental Protection might offer activity pages promoting keeping the environment clean. Other important civic and moral lessons that can be taught via coloring are sharing, loyalty and self-discipline.
Summing It All Up
Coloring pages are more than just a rainy day activity. They can be a great teaching opportunity for children’s motor skill, cognitive development and moral upbringing. As a parent, guardian or teacher of young children it is vital to make the most out this chance to fully engage the youngsters and help them fulfill their potential in a fun and creative manner.