Colouring in is one of the most popular activities for children and even adults, with adult colouring books rising in popularity over the last few years. This article is going to tell you why your children should be colouring in – if they aren’t already – as there are so many different benefits. Colouring in helps children to develop many vital skills and they will have fun whilst doing it.
“Colour helps to express light, not the physical phenomenon, but the only light that really exists, that in the artist’s brain.” – Henri Matisse
Amazing Facts About Colours
- Colours can influence the taste of food. This is due to how our brain receives the colour and flavour.
- You can tell which colours complement each other by looking at the opposite colours in the colour wheel.
- There are some colours which are too complex for the human brain to process. These are called impossible or forbidden colours.
- Blue is the most popular colour in the world, followed by purple.
- Some people have an irrational fear of colour – this is known as chromaphobia.
The History of Colouring
It is said that the idea of colouring in for fun came from the 16th Century, when volumes of a poem called Poly-Olbion were published with engraved maps. According to art historians, people became fascinated with the idea of colouring in the maps themselves.
In 1760, the flower illustrations in Robert Sayer’s The Florist were specifically designed to colour in. It contained instructions of what colours to use and which paints to mix to create them. The same author also published The Complete Drawing Book which had different engravings to colour in. At this time, colouring in was aimed at wealthy adults, who could afford beautifully illustrated books to paint. It was changes to children’s education in 1850, when kindergarten became the norm in the USA that colouring became more of a children’s activity.
Colouring books for kids have existed since approximately 1879, when The Little Folks’ Painting Book was published. From there, companies used colouring in to attract children to their products, and comic franchises capitalised on the popularity of the activity by creating versions of their strips which could be coloured in. Watercolours were initially the tool of choice before wax crayons became popular in the 20th Century. With crayons being a much simpler way to colour in, it became a popular children’s activity – it was suggested that colouring books could be used to keep children occupied until their food arrived.
However, some artists argued that colouring inside the lines limited creativity. By 1963, colouring in was used as a way for psychologists to identify psychological disorders. Today, colouring in has evolved from traditional books to activity sheets and apps.
You’re probably wondering why colouring in is such a great activity for kids. Here’s what you need to know:
Improves Motor Skill, Co-Ordination and Handwriting
The actions of gripping a crayon and moving it across the page will help your child to improve their motor skill and their hand-eye coordination. This is because the actions aid the development of muscles in the fingers, wrist and hands. Developing the motor skill can help with handwriting and handling small objects – this will assist your child in the future with all manner of activities including sports and typing.
Encourages Focus and Patience
Research has shown that spending time colouring in can improve focus and concentration. You can also take into account the impact that colour has on brain functions – when you use red in a detailed task (such as colouring in) it can improve focus and performance, according to a psychologist from the University of British Columbia. Colouring in also helps kids learn to be patient as they begin to understand the time that it takes to complete a piece of art.
Self- Esteem and Confidence
By regularly colouring in, children will improve their self-esteem and confidence. Completing a colouring sheet will give the child a sense of achievement which will help to build their confidence. Completing a project is important for a child’s sense of pride, and colouring in is one of the easiest projects to finish.
Prepares Them for School
School is all about structure. They have to go to lessons, take exams and complete tasks on paper. Using colouring sheets and colouring books help to prepare kids for the structure of school and the idea of completing work on paper. This is beneficial so that the seemingly stricter nature of school does not come as a shock to your child.
Increases Knowledge and Improves Colour Recognition
By colouring in, children will start to recognise colours, lines, perspective, shapes, and patterns. This will help them decide on their own which colour to use next. In order to complete their colouring sheet, they must learn the names of the different colours and their hues.
Crayons and colouring in is often the way that young children are introduced to the colour wheel – using all the different colours lets them explore various colour combinations and learn about colours outside of the primary colour wheel.
The earlier children learn about colours, the easier they will find it to understand how to mix colours to create new ones – something which is tested in schools – so it is incredibly beneficial to colour in with your children from an early age.
Encourages Creativity and Self-Expression
Colouring in is the perfect way to encourage your child to be more creative. A picture exists first in your child’s imagination before it goes onto the sheet. It leads them to think about how they can use various colour combinations to make the pictures more appealing. Children can express their personality through colouring in and you can have fun teaching them how to colour.
Colouring in is a low-maintenance quiet activity which can be done almost anywhere – on planes, on trains, at home or in restaurants. The quietness of the activity has led it to become popular in restaurants. At Keeko Kids, we supply colouring sheets and activity packs to many leading food service chains such as McDonald’s, Marks & Spencer & Asda.
Choosing restaurants which offer colouring in as an activity means that you know they are child-friendly and willing to cater to your little ones. Some restaurants even offer colouring sheets as an incentive to promote healthy eating, so your kids could be colouring in vegetables and then end up choosing some from the menu.
Colouring is very therapeutic for children as an outlet for their emotions. Every child can benefit from processing feelings and emotions through a simple piece of colouring. There is a reason that colouring in is used as a form of therapy for both adults and children – it is very relaxing and allows them to have some quiet time with just one thing to focus on.
One neuroscientist said that this is because picking out the colours, looking at the shape and sizes and taking note of the edges can reduce anxious thoughts. Some therapists even refer to colouring as a form of active meditation thanks to the repetitive nature which helps to calm the mind. It can help unplug us from technology and enjoy letting creativity flow.
The Best Colours to Use When Colouring in:
Colours can provoke all sorts of different feelings and emotions. You’re probably wondering which colour links to which emotion – so here it is:
- Red and orange can provoke active emotions such as anger.
- Blue is usually associated with comfort, low anxiety and relaxation.
- Yellow is associated with happiness, thanks to the reminder of the sun.
- Bright colours such as green usually lead to more positive responses.
How to Encourage Children to Colour In?
If you’re not too sure how to get your children colouring in, you can start by making it into a family activity. If you sit down and begin colouring in, your child will see how fun it is and want to join in. You should make the colouring materials available and easy to access – if they are too young to handle them by themselves, just make sure that they are visible so that your child gets used to seeing them. You should teach children that colouring in is a reward and a fun activity rather than a chore like homework.
If your child is not taking to colouring with crayons, offer them more interesting things to colour with such as chalk, oil pastels, paint or water pencils. You could even let them colour your patio with chalk if they are not taking to colouring in with a book.
You could use games and puzzles rather than straightforward colouring sheets to encourage your child to colour. Many restaurants offer activity packs to do this with.
You should never force children into colouring in or worry about them not enjoying it. There are other ways to develop motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Many children may enjoy other forms of art.
How to Teach Children to Colour
Whilst there’s no need to worry about children not colouring ‘properly’, you may find that you want to teach them to colour within the lines and enjoy the activity. A child’s introduction to colouring in should start with simple pictures and images with big borders. Once they get used to colouring in, they will naturally begin to be drawn towards choosing it as an activity.
You can use new colouring books as a reward to boost their morale and encourage them to do well. You should offer them various tools to colour in with and let them pick their favourite – different sizes may be easier to hold whilst they may be able to colour better with a pen rather than a pencil.