I used to have kind of mixed feelings about coloring pages for kids. I avoided buying the girl coloring books for a long time, feeling it was better for her to just draw what she wanted.
But she finds coloring pages a lot of fun — and particularly enjoys the more “grown up” designs, which at least provide more of a coloring-inside-the-lines challenge — and she still does plenty of drawing and art making on her own so I don’t feel like they’re stifling her self-expression.
Nurture Store has a post on just this thing, about how her daughter taught her to love coloring in coloring pages because they give kids a way to get into art who might not otherwise be interested, and you can talk about feelings, tell stories and do other things with coloring pages that might be harder with the more abstract drawings of younger kids.
Coloring Books are Great for Adults, Too
But it turns out that coloring in coloring books might be a good activity for adults, too. I’ve written about this before, but I thought it was worth mentioning in light of recent articles that come down on both sides of the issue.
Wendy Woon, who oversees educational programs at the Museum of Modern Art, says she’s worried that coloring books keep people form expressing themselves, from literally making their own mark on the world.
But for people who are afraid to make their own mark, and unwilling to push through that fear to try drawing on their own, coloring books are a great place to start, can help reduce stress and might even get people interested in other forms of self-expression as they become more comfortable with the tools of art making.
Art making of any sort, even just coloring in a coloring book, reduces the body’s production of cortisol, which makes you feel less stressed. Even bad art is good for you. I have found that doing something simple like coloring a coloring page is great when you aren’t feeling that creative, to get you back into the groove of making. I might need to do some of that right now.
Great Coloring Books to Gift Yourself (or Someone Else)
As a member of the Parragon Books Book Buddies program, I’ve gotten a peek at a couple of beautifully produced coloring book gift items you might want to check out for yourself or for the coming-all-too-soon holiday gifting period.
Keepsake Coloring Tranquility comes with two coloring books — the standard-sized but top-bound Tranquility and the purse-sized Calm. Pages aren’t perforated and coloring in the books (the smaller one in particular) might be a little awkward, but the simple designs in both are pretty and I appreciate the take-anywhere size of the little book.
There are also two double-sided posters to color in and hang, as well as a set of eight colored pencils to get you started. And all of it comes in a pretty floral tin you’ll still be using long after you’ve colored in the last lines.
The Coloring Book of Positivity is much bigger, heavier and more user-friendly, with a spiral binding and perforated pages. It includes florals, botanicals, animal images and geometric prints, and comes with a plastic pouch attached with a set of eight colored pencils and a sharpener, so you can keep everything you need together.
Coloring for Tranquility is another great one, a giant paperback bound book with a massive 288 pages, sure to keep you and your kids and anyone else who wants to color busy for a very long time. This is one you really have to color with (at least some of) the pages in the book, though, because the images are two-page spreads and printed on both sides. Colored pencils are a must for this one!
Have you gotten into the coloring book craze? Do you have a favorite coloring book? If you haven’t tried it, you should; it’s surprisingly fun.