The Lifelong Value of Colouring
By Jeannine Laubner
Colouring is a hobby that can provide lifelong benefits to all ages, such as maintaining coordination and providing stress-relief. Whether you are young or an adult, colouring a few pages each week can provide these real benefits to your life:
1. Colouring Improves Hand-Eye Ordination
We know that holding a crayon is an early step in developing the hand-eye coordination children need for writing, but colouring can help adults too. Colouring in between the lines, especially on more intricate colouring pages, can help refine hand-eye coordination in adults and is especially valuable for older adults who may be losing the hand-eye coordination of their youth.
2. Colouring Develops Better Fine-Motor Skills
Fine motor skills in the hand that are developed in childhood begin to fade in adulthood. In a world of keyboards and swipes, penmanship can fade away into chicken scratch. However, colouring can help maintain fine motor skills and even improve them. Recent studies indicate that colouring can even help redevelop skills in stroke victims.
3. Colouring Improves Focus
Studies have concluded that taking regular breaks from work and studying can make the time you spend working and studying more productive by improving your focus. Colouring is the perfect break from work or study because there’s no reading or writing. Colouring books also feature an easy stopping point – finish a page and your break is over.
4. Colouring Promotes Creativity
Colouring is one of the best ways to promote creativity in kids and adults. Colouring pages and books can improve imagination by allowing the artist to redesign an animal or character to suit their mood. Mandalas and tattoo art allow the most flexibility to the colourist, allowing them to choose the colours they find most pleasing, or most meaningful. The more intricate the colour pages, the more it can spark that creativity nerve in your brain. Some clever artists even take the time to redesign the page a bit to parody the original material or create a more humorous image. Colouring is inspirational.
5. Colouring Provides Stress Relief
Winding down at the end of a hectic day can be tough, especially if you try to wind down with your phone or computer. Work emails, chatting on social media, and some mindless web-crawling can consume an evening but leave you no less stressed than before you tried to have some time to yourself. Colouring books don’t have apps or notifications. It’s easy to stay focused on the colours and designs without intrusions, which gives you real-time to de-stress and relax.
6. Colouring Develops Spacial Awareness
Spatial awareness (meaning how you perceive your body in relation to the things around you) rests on a foundation of basic problem-solving and logic. Without an ability to solve basic puzzles and correctly interpret spatial cues, spatial awareness is hampered, or impossible. Because colouring books and pages often feature games or layered images that can suggest depth and objects in various relations, they can help children develop the foundation they need to have a strong spatial awareness.
7. Colouring Prepares Children for School
We’ve already established that colouring can help with hand-eye coordination and fine motor control. But the educational value of colouring doesn’t stop with preparing young children to write. By carefully choosing colouring books and colouring pages that function as educational tools, parents can prepare children for primary school concepts. Some colouring books, called activity books, feature numbers, letters, shapes, and simple logic games to help very young children learn basic concepts on their own. Other colouring books featuring fairy tales and short stories help older children learn to read. Special colouring books, usually purchased online or in speciality shops, may feature more advanced education topics ranging from biodiversity to fine art, from mechanical sciences to history. These speciality colouring books may also be of interest to adults and teens who are learning new concepts or relearning skills after an injury.
8. Colouring Promotes Self-Esteem
People of all ages enjoy standing back and admiring their handiwork. Even a small job well done is good for the soul and builds self-esteem. As we age, we often have less and less to stand back and admire, but completing projects is critical to viewing ourselves as capable. Silly as it may seem, completing a colouring page and hanging it up on the fridge can feel as good to an adult as it does to a child. Many older colourists choose their colouring books based on the art they’d like to see in their house and enjoy hanging their completed art around their home!
9. Colouring Promotes Understanding of Colours
Colouring books, not surprisingly, help children learn the names for colours. But they also promote an intrinsic understanding of colour theory. Given a basic palette of watercolours or coloured pencils, a child can learn how to mix two colours to produce a new colour, which can lead to mixing three or four colours to create the desired colours. They can also produce shading using darker and lighter crayons. Furthermore, they can learn about contrasting and complementary colours. They may not use the same terms as fine artists, but they are learning the same ideas.
10. Best Yet, Colouring is Electronics Free!
The world has never needed colouring as much as it does now. Screen time has a bad rap with many experts who claim it can cause a host of ills. Many families are trying to cut the cord at night and when on vacation. Colouring is a great activity for the whole family in the evening during tech-free time before bed or on weekend mornings before a big adventure. Colouring books and pages are easy to pack for restaurants, car rides or air travel, and they don’t need to be charged before you go! Unlike other family activities, there are no cards or playing pieces to lose. You can colour together to create a collaborative piece or individually to create a collage of colourings!
As you can see, colouring can provide a wealth of benefits to all ages, and is a quality lifelong hobby.
About the author:
Jeannine Laubner is the Academic Director of Kipinä Kids Nurseries and Preschools, the world’s fastest-growing international Finnish preschool franchise. She is a fourth-generation teacher, and mother of two Kipinä-educated children. Hailing from San Francisco, USA, she is a successful leader in education with over 18 years of experience. Jeannine holds a Masters degree in Teaching, a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and Cross-Cultural Language and Academic Development certification. When she is not developing teaching tools for the Kipinä Enhanced Finland Curriculum, she is supporting green initiatives, animal welfare and Girl Scouts Overseas.