All children love to color, but there are important reasons to encourage and guide this activity beyond a mere hedonistic urge for fun.
Coloring builds fine motor skills
Perhaps the biggest benefit children get from coloring pages of animals or their favorite cartoon characters is the development of fine motor skills. This includes learning the correct way to hold the crayons, markers or colored pencils you use to draw. When supervising young children learning how to color, use gentle guidelines and encourage writing tools to be held between the tips of the thumb, index and middle fingers and near the tips. Many children hold crayons in their fists. Correcting these misuses is an important first step towards true calligraphy.
In addition to holding a crayon or pencil properly, learning how to keep drawing lines on a coloring page is another example of fine motor skills. This is a more advanced concept and can take a child years to fully complete, so you should only give positive comments to your child’s coloring attempts in this regard. It’s great to make kids enjoy coloring and want to do it often, and discourage negative feedback and harsh criticism.
Moral education through coloring pages
Christian parents can easily find many free Bible coloring pages online. Even if your family is not religious, it is important for your child to understand the religious concepts, icons and events of the Bible. This is a matter of cultural education, not just a moral basis. From a broader perspective, these images can be used as a starting point for conversations about general moral topics. Beyond these simple and often jingoistic sources, the foundations of a broader moral education can be found if parents use a little creativity in their search. Many state departments offer free coloring sheets promoting good citizenship. For example, a state Department of Environmental Protection may provide an activity page to keep the environment clean. Other important civic and moral lessons that can be taught through coloring are sharing, loyalty and self-discipline.