By Shara Lawrence-Weiss
Not long ago a funny thing happened. I read a note on LinkedIn, from someone I know, promoting back-to-school ideas along with coloring pages. I replied, stating that Kabongo was creating custom coloring pages at my request for back-to-school; to benefit my readers.
Soon after that someone else replied, complaining about the fact that “people are still pushing coloring pages on kids.” Her complaint was focused on the idea that we are limiting kids to drawing inside lines, by offering them coloring pages.
Not once had I mentioned that I force kids to color, against their will. Nor did I say that I require children to color inside the lines. Nothing was implied about my using coloring pages to limit a child’s creativity.
This was all assumed.
The (no doubt) lovely lady had read somewhere that coloring pages hold kids back and so she formed an entire blanket opinion on this matter based on little (or no) real interaction with living children.
After working with kids for over 23 years, and having three of my own, I’ve found that it works best to be aware of their brain chemistry. Not our own idealized versions of how we envision the “perfectly creative world” to be.
Some kids hate to color on coloring pages.
Some kids love it.
It’s that simple.
If you are working (or living) with kids who love to color inside the lines, let them. Don’t say, “You’re naughty for coloring so neatly! Why are you inside those lines? Be more creative, please!” If you work with, or live with, kids who balk at coloring pages and beg for blank paper – by golly, give them blank paper.
Research has shown that coloring a page can reduce stress and anxiety for many people. People like me. I like having lines because my brain can’t wrap itself around the idea that a blank piece of paper could have any destiny other than…being blank. My father on the other hand is a professional artist and would most assuredly consider a pre-drawn coloring page to be an insult to humanity.
Why limit people to one way of thinking? There’s enough varying thought patterns to go around. Really.
And that’s okay.
Further reading: Should we ban coloring pages in early childhood?