As we approach gift giving season, I implore you not to accidentally fall victim to the colouring book syndrome.
What is wrong with colouring books? I mean many of them contain your child’s favourite characters and some great looking scenes just waiting to have pencil or marker pen lovingly applied.
Well, let me tell you that colouring books are creativity killers!
Yes, you read right, Killers I say!!
When you encourage a child to use a colouring book you are basically saying to them that their own freehand art is not good enough. That they need to colour this professionally drawn image (that they could probably never draw themselves) and not go out of the lines or mess up.
Oh, and they better get the colours right too…K-I-L-L-E-R-S!
If your child does love colouring books already, that is fine, just encourage them to use kooky colours to decorate their characters, and to add lots of embellishments – hats, bags, patterns on clothing, funny hair, glasses, moustaches, wings, flowers, you get the idea. And also use the white space around the picture to add scenery.
The colouring books I like are the meditative colouring books, the ones that are just shapes and patterns to colour. These are great books, they are a jumping off point for discussions about light/dark, complementary colours, and colours that clash.
Because they don’t look like anything kids are not threatened and can colour freely and practice their pencil/pen control skills to stay in the lines (if that is the kind of thing you value!).
OK, well all is not lost…
- Best option….plain paper, or draw a scribble on the page for your child to turn into something fabulous.
- If you must have colouring books get the ones with patterns and shapes only.
- If your child loves ‘traditional’ colouring books then encourage them to have FUN – use crazy colours, add embellishments, accessories and background landscape elements teach them to illustrate the page, not just become a passive colour-filler-inner.