The early stages of children’s lives are where they need the guidance of their parents the most. Parents have to help them gain the necessary skills for going about in life activities and for when they soon go off to preschool. They are not born with those skills, so parents must foster those skills by teaching and helping their kids develop those skills. One way of doing that is by teaching kids coloring skills with the use of coloring books. But why coloring skills and coloring books?
The Importance of Teaching Coloring Skills With Coloring Books
When kids start to learn coloring skills, they do not only learn how to color and become more creative. They also get to be prepared to take on any other activity. Whether it is an activity in everyday life such as eating with a spoon and fork, buttoning their shirt, combing their hair, etc; or an activity when they go to preschool such as writing, drawing, crafting, etc. Coloring books are an excellent instrument for teaching children coloring skills, as the pictures are readily provided in the coloring books’ several pages. And as children fill the pages of coloring books with color, they are developed in different aspects, which will be further discussed later in this article.
As children’s muscles and muscle control are still underdeveloped, they may not be ready to undertake certain tasks or when they try, they could possibly mess up. The goal in coloring in coloring books, although may take time to achieve, is to keep the colors within the lines. When children are taught and practiced how to do this in coloring books, it would result in the improvement of the muscle strength of the small muscles around the hands as well as the control of the movement of those muscles. Specifically speaking, these are fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
Through engaging in coloring in coloring books often, children will eventually be able to do with more ease not only coloring but also other tasks. So teaching kids how to color would help in preparing them to take on any task. Moreover, this would also equip them for the activities that they will soon do in preschool.
Believe it or not, cognitive skills can also be developed in children through coloring in coloring books. How? Firstly, because as they try to color within the lines in coloring books, they would get the idea of boundaries, which would help develop in them spatial abilities. They would be able to comprehend the spatial relationships of the different objects around them. An advantage of this is, is that it would prevent kids from accidentally coloring on tables while coloring in coloring books.
But the advantages of learning about boundaries and gaining spatial abilities is not limited to coloring only. They are also helpful for kids in any life situation like familiarizing themselves with a new environment, perhaps a new classroom; when they are packing their school supplies in their school bag; using the mirror to comb their hair; etc. Moreover, research revealed that there is a connection with spatial abilities and creativity and math skills. It is also linked with proficiency in various STEM fields such as engineering, architecture, and meteorology.
Another way children can get developed cognitively through coloring in coloring books is how they would be prompted to think thoroughly about what colors to use for the pictures. Because aside from keeping their coloring within the lines, another goal in coloring in coloring books would be to fill in the pictures with colors creatively. They would think of what colors to use and what colors would look good together to make the image they are working on appealing. And that develops their creativity.
Lastly, practicing coloring in coloring books can also practice children’s minds. Because a lot of coloring books are designed to also be educational. Such coloring books would introduce particular topics to children such as careers, alphabets, numbers, etc. So when kids color, such information would also be retained in their minds, or they may also even be challenged to think.
Parents can help in this learning process in coloring in coloring books too. They can have learning exercises with their kids while their kids color. Parents can teach their kids about what is in the picture their kids are coloring then also ask their kids questions. Or they may also let their kids talk about what they see in the pictures themselves.
Apart from allowing kids to gain knowledge, coloring books can also even teach kids reading and spelling skills. As there are also some coloring books that involve words spelled out in the designs of the pictures.
Why Some Children Struggle With Coloring and How to Deal With Them
Coloring skills take time to be developed, that a lot of kids tend to struggle with coloring. And unfortunately, some kids would become disinterested in coloring or even dislike it. But such struggles can always be resolved with the help of parents. That way, kids’ coloring skills would improve and they’d find coloring more enjoyable. Below are reasons why kids struggle with coloring and how parents can deal with them.
They Find It Difficult
Since the necessary skills in coloring such as hand strength, fine motor skills, and hand-eye coordination are yet to be developed in kids, they would find it hard to color. But that’s the purpose of coloring in the first place—to develop those skills. Practice is important to improve those needed skills. To encourage kids to color, perhaps parents can do a reward system, wherein when their kids finish coloring, their kids can get a treat.
Parents can also let their kids do exercises that can help improve their kids’ hand strength, fine motor skills, and hand-eye coordination so that their kids can color better. Those exercises can be found in the latter part of this article that talks about the tips on how to teach coloring skills to kids.
They Might Have a Short Attention Span
At kids’ young age, their attention spans are limited and need to be improved. While it can be worked on through practice, one factor that can hinder the development of kids’ concentration is all the gadgets and technology that surround them and can distract them. Parents can take away gadgets and whatnot from their kids for some time or set a schedule for when their kids can use them. That would help kids concentrate more.
They Think They Are Not Good In Coloring
Given their lack of skills, some kids may not feel like coloring because they think it’s something they are not good at. Perhaps they may have seen someone else’s work that was better than theirs. And that may have made them feel intimidated and discouraged. Parents can deal with this situation by explaining to their kids that coloring takes some practice to get better results and encouraging their kids to practice to get better at it. And when their kids finish coloring, parents can compliment them on the good job they’ve done.
Tips on How to Teach Kids Coloring Skills
Although coloring can be hard for kids at first, with the help and support of parents, it will soon become easier for them. Below are some tips parents can take note of on how they can teach their kids coloring skills.
Go With Simple Pictures That Have Large Shapes and Outlines
When kids are still beginners in coloring, it is best to give them coloring books with simple pictures that have large shapes and outlines. Such pictures would make it easier for them to learn how to color, unlike the more complex pictures that would involve smaller shapes and outlines, which would only cause them frustration. It is only when kids’ coloring skills have already been enhanced that kids can move on to more intricate pictures with smaller shapes and outlines.
Offer Different Kinds of Coloring Materials
Letting kids color with the coloring materials they are most comfortable using can make learning how to color much easier for them. Let them work with the kind of coloring materials they can manage easily, whether it’s crayons, markers, color pencils, or paint and paintbrush. Also let them choose what size of coloring materials they can hold and control much better, whether the smaller, skinny ones or the larger thick ones.
Make Sure Your Child Is Positioned Properly
Kids perform best when they are in a position they are most comfortable with, but parents should also make sure their kids are positioned correctly. Whether your kid prefers coloring on a table or on the floor, make sure they are positioned properly and comfortably.
When they are coloring on a table, they have to be seated on the chair in an upright position. And their feet have to be rested flat on the floor to provide them stability. When they are lying on the floor while they color, they would be lying on their belly with their elbows and arms providing support.
Teach the Proper Grip
Little kids would be naive on how to hold a crayon or any other coloring material. So parents must teach their kids the proper way of holding it, which is called the tripod grasp.
Do the Hand-Over-Hand Technique
The hand-over-hand technique can really be useful when teaching kids new skills like coloring skills. This technique simply involves parents putting their hand over their kid’s hand that is being used for coloring and guiding the hand movements on their kid’s hand in coloring in spaces without going past the lines.
Emphasize Outlines to Make Them Stand Out
To help kids keep the colors within the lines when coloring in coloring books, parents can emphasize the outlines in the pictures. This will give kids an idea of the endpoint of the coloring they will do on a particular part of a picture. Parents can do this either by making the outlines darker by tracing them with any coloring material. Or parents may also use glue for tracing the outlines to make three-dimensional outlines.
Join Them in Coloring
As mentioned earlier, kids may not be inclined to coloring in coloring books, which may be due to some struggles. In addition to the aforementioned solutions to those struggles, parents may also join their kids in coloring as well. When they are able to find the time, parents can color with their kids and show how much fun coloring can be. Kids would then be convinced to color more when they realize how fun it can be.
Let Kids Master Coloring Skills Through Practice
Kids’ coloring skills will eventually improve as they practice those skills often. Parents can allot some time for their kids to do some coloring in their coloring books in order for their kids’ coloring skills to be honed.
Recognize and Reward Kids’ Efforts and Progress
It’s always motivating when efforts are recognized and appreciated. So when parents can see that their kids are doing great and making progress in coloring, they can show their admiration and appreciation for their kids’ works and improvement by giving them compliments along with new coloring books. If parents notice a big improvement in their kids’ coloring skills, they can then give their kids coloring books with more intricate pictures. This will push them to color even more in a more skillful way.
Also Let Kids Do Other Activities That Aid in Developing Needed Skills
Parents may also let their kids engage in other activities that can also help in the development of necessary skills such as hand strength, fine motor skills, and hand-eye coordination. For enhancing kids’ hand strength and fine motor skills, parents can let their kids play with Playdoh, practice how to grasp and move small objects using toys, squeeze clothespins or clips, pinch pillows, or repetitively squeeze down the nozzle of a spray bottle. Recommended activities for developing hand-eye coordination are throwing and catching a ball, stacking rings, or tracing activities. To develop all three skills, parents can let their kids pick up objects using tweezers or tongs.
Highly Recommended Coloring Books for Teaching Kids Coloring Skills
Elizabeth Shelby’s coloring books can provide just what parents would look for in coloring books for teaching coloring skills to kids. As mentioned earlier in the tips on how to teach kids coloring skills, parents need to provide their kids coloring books with simple pictures that have large shapes and outlines since their kids are still only beginners. Parents can find just that in Shelby’s collection of coloring books, particularly in the versions of her coloring books designated for the age group of three to eight-year-olds.
Her coloring books usually come in two different versions, one for the aforementioned younger, less-skilled age group and another for the older, most likely more skilled age group of eight to twelve-year-olds. So when kids are still yet to learn coloring skills, they can try the former. And when they have acquired enough skills to color more complex pictures, they can move on to the latter.
And of course, as parents would want their kids to spend a substantial amount of time coloring in coloring books for their kids to practice and enhance their coloring skills, they should also consider their kids’ interests. Because coloring would be more interesting and enjoyable for kids if they are actually into the subjects in the pictures of the coloring books they are provided. And they would spend more time coloring in those coloring books. Shelby’s collection of coloring books include various themes such as fairy, unicorn, mermaid, and careers, which are all popular to imaginative little kids.
Aside from the relation to kids’ interests, another feature for coloring books that would make kids spend hours coloring is several pages of pictures to be colored. In Shelby’s coloring books, kids can indulge in the loads of pictures provided in the pages that are as many as 50.
Coloring in coloring books does not only keep kids entertained but can also equip them with skills that would be very useful for them in the long run. In order for kids to learn coloring skills, required are parent’s guidance, ample time spent for practice, and the right coloring materials and coloring books for your kids. Shelby’s coloring books tick all the boxes for coloring books that can help in teaching kids coloring skills. You can get them at the books list page on letscolorimaginations.com.