What a Little Crayon Can Do


Hello Inkster Grown-ups! Welcome to another thINK thursday!

Today’s thINK thursday activity is coloring. What can a little crayon do?


According to recent research (see, for example, this piece on Huffington Post), coloring can actually help adults combat stress. It is a quiet activity that promotes mindfulness, reflectiveness, stillness, and creativity (within the lines, off course). Coloring is also linked to the development of our writing selves. Coloring:

  • Invites self-expression: What do you draw and color on a blank piece of paper? What colors do you choose when coloring that dinosaur?
  • Develops grip and control: We know from earlier Inktopia Kids posts that grip and control are important skills to develop and maintain so that we write with pen and pencil legibly and comfortably.
  • Invites and develops focus and concentration through a simple activity: No screens, no email pings…just you, a bucket of color options, and a pre-drawn picture to complete.
  • Encourages the acceptance of boundaries: Sometimes when we become really stressed, all we can perceive is that our lives are full of limiting boundaries. “I don’t have time.” “I don’t have enough _________.” Pre-drawn coloring pages present boundaries in a different way: Within the lines are world’s of creative possibility. How might we use the boundaries of our individual world’s, then, as markers of possibility? How does thinking in that way allow for stress relief? Plus, it’s something you can do alongside your kids, so no need to find a babysitter (see, you feel less stressed already, right?)

How our Inksters interact with boundaries on a coloring page differs according to development stages. While a toddler or preschooler might scribble outside the lines and all over the coloring page, with no respect for the lines on the page, an older child makes an effort to color inside the lines. Early exposure to boundaries in print is helpful when handwriting time comes around, an activity and skill that implicitly asks children to respect the boundaries of the preprinted handwriting lines on the paper.

So, grab those Crayolas and coloring books and get to de-stressing! Looking for a place to start? This lovely coloring book, Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book, an adaptation of the novel, is a wonderful place to start. You can color and engage literature at the same time. Maybe your older Inksters will want to color along and read the original book, too.

And a storybook bonus to share with your Inksters: check out what happens when you use certain crayons too much in this fun children’s storybook, The Day the Crayons Quit.

What are your favorite coloring books? Let us know what you find.

Happy Coloring!


One response »

  1. Great idea! What do you think about online coloring books? Are they available? It might be interesting to color objects online….


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