BENEFITS OF COLOURING IN
Teachers, especially relief teachers, are looked down on for colouring in with kids. We are seen as lazy and unprepared. We just throw out a colouring in sheet because we couldn’t be bothered to think of something else. Most of us know that this is not the truth, so let’s debunk this annoyingly persistent myth. In the last few years we have seen the rise in popularity of colouring in for all ages. When it’s adults colouring, we suggest all sorts of emotional, and social benefits, but when we do it with children in a classroom it’s just a way to fill in time with minimal effort on the teacher’s part. To prove them wrong here are just some of the reasons why colouring is beneficial for children:
- It contributes to social development. Having a classroom activity that allows children to work and interact with each other builds social and conversational skills. It can also help foster a sense of co-operation. Even though the students are working on their individual pictures, it can create a sense of everyone working together to achieve something. This is especially true if the colouring project is designed in a way that will combine students’ efforts after they are done. (Make sure you check out our upcoming blog on ‘What to do once a colouring-in sheet is finished’)
- It can reduce stress. Art has been used therapeutically for centuries. The act of focussing on a colouring project provides an outlet for children to process difficult or confusing emotions. This focus on doing something with their hands can also provide a sense of calm, reducing stress levels, and decreasing negative thoughts. Colouring has even been linked to increasing a person’s ability to deal with stressful situations in the future. Completing a colouring project also provides a sense of accomplishment that boosts children’s self-esteem.
- It helps develop focus. Colouring in is an excellent way for children to work on their task oriented attention span in a fun and enjoyable way. Colouring in also requires children to pay attention to detail which is a useful skill to improve. The ability to concentrate on a specific task until it is complete is an extremely important part of a child’s development.
- It increases fine motor skills. Whether or not your students are at a point where they can consistently colour inside the lines, colouring in develops fine motor skills requiring children to build up hand strength and co-ordination. It contributes significantly to a child’s dexterity, and helps to improve handwriting. The combination of fine motor skills and sight needed for colouring in strengthens a variety of abilities in a child’s mind because it requires both hemispheres of your brain to communicate.
- It’s a gentle introduction to boundaries and structure. Colouring sheets can help teach children about the benefits and importance of boundaries and structure in a way that they can process and understand. Learning to respect boundaries is an important part of every child’s development. Colouring in also prepares children for other, more structured work on paper such as assignments.
- It teaches the recognition of colours and shapes. Colouring in, especially when it comes to sheets with geometric designs, help children to learn about lines, shapes, colours/hues, perspective, patterns and forms. The older the students are, the more complex the concepts can become. You can even incorporate mathematic concepts like tessellation and geometry. Some colouring sheets are even designed to teach children about new things, like animals and the environment.
- Creativity is important. Colouring in is an excellent way for people of all ages to express themselves and their creativity. Providing children with a chance to colour sparks their imagination which can inspire kids to brainstorm and naturally come up new ideas on their own. Many children prefer to express themselves visually making colouring in an important part of their self-expression. Creativity is also an important component of developing critical thinking skills. Really, creativity is part of everything we do which makes it a vital part of life and education.
So next time someone questions the value of colouring in you can tell them that colouring with your kids improves their emotional, social, and physical abilities, or just show them this blog post!
Keep shining brightly!