In Defense of Coloring!

On this site, I say some pretty negative things about coloring books and especially about the even worse online versions of these books.

This is what some people think about coloring online:

cartoon computer monitor

I've got something more colorful: downloadable stories that your child draws the pictures for.

Oh, and something else...

This exercise can actually
one of your child's
problem behaviors!

Well, a visitor wrote me in defense of coloring, and I thought her defense was so eloquent that I would post it on the site.

Pamela is an art teacher, and she feels rather strongly about the rather valuable school and life skills (think penmanship, for instance) that coloring books help develop. (I'll note though that she says nothing in defense of online, point-and-click coloring!)

So if you'd like help locating some printable coloring pages, so your child can develop hand-eye coordination and penmanship skills, visit here.

"As an artist who used coloring books as a child, I gained valuable knowledge of art concepts through them. As a teacher, I have used them to help teach my primary students art concepts and to promote dexterity, to develop confidence, improve skills and increase concentration by using them."

"Using coloring as a tool to develop the creative aspects of an artist, the child learns to manipulate line, he also learns how shapes are created to develop the images he has in mind."

"In other words, if he wants to draw a house, having colored a house or traced on the lines of a house drawing, he learns how the line moves to develop the image of a house and he then uses this knowledge when he draws on his own."

"I have had more children moving on to draw by having them gain an interest in drawing by doing the coloring pages. Art concepts do not magically appear when a child is given a blank page, even for those who are born artists like I was. Each concept is developed by layering the knowledge you gain from each experience."

"Learning the 'language of lines' and how they create images is one aspect that coloring helps to develop. When our pre-school stopped allowing coloring pages, when they then entered kindergarten, their skill level in writing and drawing was extremely low."

"They lacked the experience that develops good hand-eye coordination and the dexterity to manipulate line to form letters."

"Lacking the skills to write correctly, etc., affects their ability to express the true level of knowledge, since work pages require dexterity to complete to show they understand other concepts such as reading, writing etc."

"I don't know your Kidpix program, but one aspect mentioned was that it gives the child the ability to create an image that is as good as an adult drawing? Sounds like it generates a drawing for them?" (Website note: Kidpix also allows for freehand drawing.)

"I would have some concern that a child drawing with a tool and creating a drawing that looks like it was done by an adult and not the true expression of their own line management would prove to frustrate a child, because they can not achieve that level on their own."

"In working with my own students I will find a few times that a child will compare my skill level with themselves and I will have to reassure them that I drew exactly like they do when I was their age."

"Being children they are fantasy based and frustrated that they don't magically create what I can at my level. So reassuring them lets them know they are exactly ok at their level."

"Also, expressing interest & approval of their efforts helps them keep working and developing. So I would worry this program while making a cool image for a child, would frustrate them from attempting things on their own."

"On the other hand coloring pages, I have often seen my students flip the page over and trace the lines, or even free hand a similar drawing."

"Anyway, I thought I would add in my own experiences for you. Good luck on your website."

--Pamela (teacher and aspiring coloring book artist)

The Coloring Books section.

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