With all the tech around these days, pulling kids away from their screens and devices can be challenging. This is where coloring can help, being an activity that all kids love and effective at getting them to put their gadgets aside and enjoy some good old-fashioned fun.
But it’s not just great at getting your little ones away from their iPads. There are a wide range of early developmental benefits that coloring has to offer, from creativity and self-expression to hand strength, hand-eye coordination, and language skills, to name just a few.
In this post, we’ll look at some of these benefits, providing a round-up of our favorite, hopefully making a case for why coloring is a must-do activity for toddlers and young children.
10 benefits of coloring for kids
Many parents may be surprised to know the extent of the benefits that the humble activity of coloring can offer to their little one’s development. These can help to strengthen and build a wide array of essential skills and help get them ready for education once they reach school-age.
So, without further ado, here are our picks of 10 of the best benefits that coloring has to offer for toddlers and young children.
1. Helps to develop hand strength and offers pencil grip practice
For most young children, the first object they’ll learn to pick up and hold in a specific way is a pencil, crayon, or some other coloring tool. These tools are the first step on the road to developing the dexterity and fine motor skills necessary to color and, more importantly, write.
Hand strength is one of the more crucial fine motor skills – as it’s, of course, essential for any hand-related movements or tasks. We might not think much of it as adults, but these skills take many years to develop, meaning that giving your little one a head start will help them to reach mastery more quickly than they might without an activity like coloring.
Coloring helps exercise the muscles essential to hand strength, grip, and writing – helping to develop your little one’s pencil grip – something that will help them in the classroom, particularly when it comes to things like handwriting and even art class.
2. Helps to improve handwriting skills
Adding to our previous benefit, the activity of coloring will help prepare your little one for handwriting, as it helps build the hand strength and dexterity needed to hold a pen and write properly.
The more kids color, the more easily and naturally children will pick up the skill of handwriting. You’ll also want to mix up the coloring tools – giving your little one plenty of practice with everything from pencils and pens to crayons and even paintbrushes. Each of these will help fine-tune muscles for each of these different coloring mediums, making your little one a master of each.
Ensuring your little one gets plenty of coloring time is an essential part of getting them ready for their first day at school, as building the dexterity and fine motor skills required for handwriting early will help give them a significant head start in the classroom.
3. Helps develop and stimulate creativity and self-expression
Coloring can also help stimulate creativity and self-expression in young children, allowing them to stamp their own mark on a coloring book or sheet, giving them a way of expressing themselves before they’re competent enough with a pen or pencil to draw.
Choosing which colors to use is part of the fun of coloring, being a significant element of play. The sorts of colors they choose and how they color – using different strokes, patterns, or other stylistic elements – will change and grow with their confidence, giving them a greater level of skill and mastery over their coloring tools.
Whether or not they manage to keep their creativity within the lines is immaterial – being of no consequence when it comes to realizing their creativity and imagination. As such, it’s important to praise them for the works of art they produce, reinforcing their self-esteem and belief in themselves as they experiment.
4. Helps develop and improve fine motor skills
Fine motor skills are arguably the single most crucial aspect of child development – being an essential skill for young children to master to navigate through and interact with the world around them.
While they’re young, children are still very much in the early process of developing these fine motor skills – the same skills that will eventually help them to master essential activities later in life. These include things like household chores, cooking, typing, writing, and pretty much anything else you can think of that requires the use of your fingers and hands.
Coloring can help to improve motor skills, far more so than most other activities. This is because the motions involved when coloring – like holding crayons, pencils, and pens – and using them to doodle and scribble, require the tiny muscles found in the fingers, hands, and wrists.
5. Helps develop concentration, focus, and hand-eye coordination
Coloring is immensely beneficial to developing concentration, focus, and hand-eye coordination in young children. Holding crayons or pencils, sharpening them, picking colors, and coloring itself are all actions that help to build and improve hand-eye coordination in young children, as being able to use these skills together, in conjunction with each other, is necessary to successfully color.
Asking children to color between the lines – rather than draw freehand – helps develop and build hand-eye coordination, concentration, and focus, as they’ll need all of these skills to complete the task successfully. You’ll notice after a few coloring sessions that, over time, coloring can help to build and improve these skills, with things like concentration increasing and improving over time.
As we’ve touched on, coloring is also a great activating for building focus – a skill that is not just important for once they reach school and academia, but also for later life, as they enter into the world of work and start their careers as adults.
6. Boosts confidence and self-esteem
One thing that will serve your little well – both throughout their childhood and as an adult, later in life – is building up a high level of confidence and self-esteem.
Completing a coloring sheet or book gives young children a real sense of accomplishment – something that will go a long way to help build confidence and self-esteem – reinforcing their belief in themselves and their ability to get things done.
While it may seem minor or insignificant to us grown-ups, completing tasks like these frequently can have a compounding effect. Small tasks have a huge impact over time, building and reinforcing this confidence and instilling young children with a strong sense of self-belief.
7. Can help kids to relax and develop patience
While it might be surprising to some, children get stressed just like adults. This is something that coloring can help with, having a calming effect that will help combat any anxiety or stress, helping them return to a relaxed state.
This is especially true for kids who have particular difficulty when it comes to processing and dealing with negative emotions and frustrations – as coloring can offer a way for them to vent these feelings.
How does it do this? Well, put simply, the one-dimensional focus that the activity of coloring requires helps to take their minds off of whatever it is that is causing them to feel anxious or stressed. This can also help develop patience, as completing a coloring book or sheet takes focus and time – something that will help them be more patient the more they color.
8. Helps language skills development
Coloring can provide your little one with an opportunity to broaden their vocabulary, picking up plenty of new words as they color – whether these are shapes, different colors, or the things that they color in, like animals, characters, and vehicles.
The activity gives them the opportunity to pick up these new words and use them as they articulate and describe what they’re coloring in – making them more confident in using these words, helping to improve their understanding and grasp of language.
This benefit can be further amplified when you throw other children into the mix, whether at a play date, kid’s party, or other get-togethers. The added communication will help amplify the impact that coloring has on language skills development.
9. Teaches awareness and recognition of colors and shapes
The first exposure to the concept of shapes and color for most kids is the crayons, colored pencils, markers, and coloring books or sheets they’ll encounter as toddlers. At this stage, you’ll be able to take them through and educate them on the most common colors, helping them to recognize and learn the names of different colors like red, blue, yellow, orange, black, and white.
And don’t just stick with crayons and pencils. Throw some paint into the mix, enabling you to teach them how to mix and make colors, using the primary and secondary colors that comprise the color wheel – giving them their first taste of color theory.
It’s also useful for teaching kids about shapes, as the images they draw can be broken down into easily recognizable, common shapes – giving them a creating understanding of and ability to identify all of the various different shapes.
10. Can help better prepare your little one for school
Coloring can help get your little one ready for school, introducing them to some common classroom concepts, like worksheets and paper-based assignments, with things like dinosaur coloring sheets, dinosaur coloring books, and other kid’s activity books.
As parents, you can take this one step further, assigning tasks and reviewing them, issuing rewards like gold stars and other dinosaur stickers, getting them use to the usual back and forth they’ll encounter once they enter the classroom.
And it’s not just getting used to the mechanism of the classroom, coloring also helps children practice using pens and pencils, helping to develop their hand strength and pencil grip – skills that are essential at school.
Well, there you have it, our round-up of 10 of the best benefits that coloring has to offer toddlers and young children.
Coloring offers a whole host of developmental benefits, making it one of the simplest, most affordable activities that offer incredible bang for your buck – helping to develop motor skills, language skills, and a wide range of others.
As well as the developmental benefits, coloring books and sheets can offer preschool children their first experience of the classroom, giving them a taster of the world to come once they graduate to their first day of school. This can help to properly equip and prepare them for education, giving them everything they need to hit the ground running.
We hope you found this article helpful and that we’ve made the case for why coloring is such an important activity – and one that is essential to incorporate into daily play.