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10 benefits of coloring for child development

a girl coloring with markers

Coloring is a fun pastime for many people, particularly children. It is fun, easy, and an enjoyable way to pass the time. However, did you know that it can also have developmental benefits?

Here are 10 benefits that coloring can have on child development. 

Helps develop fine motor skills

Adults often don’t think twice about our fine motor skills and how crucial they are in completing used everyday activities, such as handwriting and typing. Many forget that these are skills that need to be taught as your children develop – coloring is a great way to help do this. 

Developing fine motor skills means practicing using small muscles in hands and wrists to do things such as holding scissors or using a pencil. These skills are important, particularly in children because they are used for key tasks in everyday life and as a student. When coloring children are working these muscles, as well as developing hand strength and grip. 

At first, many children will have difficulties gripping the coloring pencil or crayon correctly, but coloring allows them to practice this skill and develop hand strength. These skills will then help the children complete fine motor activities as they grow. 

Coloring encourages creativity 

Coloring activates a part of the brain which is involved in creativity. Creativity can be described as the tendency to use, generate, or recognize unique ways to create works of art, solve problems, communicate with others, entertain ourselves, entertain others, and so on.

Coloring provides a space that fosters and encourages creative thinking in children. They can choose what colors to use, they can color a pre-made page or create their work, they can color within the lines or choose not to, they can experiment with color combos and mixing, and so much more. There is essentially no right or wrong way to color, so children have the freedom to do whatever they like.

Coloring encourages self-expression

Coloring in pages is generally a task with a lot of creative liberty and space for self-expression. Children can choose what to color, how to color it, what colors to use, what colors to mix, and so on. Even when a child is coloring a pre-made picture, there are still tons of possibilities. Essentially, there is no wrong way to color and children can choose to express or convey whatever they want. 

One benefit this creative freedom can have for both the child and the parents is that it can also provide a safe environment to express emotions and feelings. Children sometimes have difficulty expressing emotions through words, but coloring can help them do so. This can also give insight to the parents about what may be going on inside their child’s head. 

Helps with Color Recognition 

Another benefit of coloring is that it helps children with color recognition. Children not only get to learn about different colors, but they also learn about the difference between colors, as well as the effects different colors have on a picture. They also learn what colors to use for certain things (e.g. using green for grass), how to combine colors, and more. Essentially, it gives children a place to better understand and explore colors. 

Improves Hand Eye Coordination 

As mentioned above, coloring helps children develop their fine motor skills. Coloring also involves using your sight, along with those skills. Essentially, you are both watching and doing at the same time, developing your hand and eye coordination.

You can see this most prominently with coloring within a specific area. For many children, it will be difficult to color within the lines at first, but as they continue to develop their hand and eye coordination through coloring, this will become easier to do. 

Helps children focus and concentrate 

Coloring activates several parts of the brain. In addition to activating both hemispheres of the brain that are responsible for creativity and logic, coloring also opens up the frontal lobe of the brain. This part of the brain is responsible for organizing and problem solving and plays a role in focus. 

When coloring children are typically shifting all of their attention and focus on one specific activity. They are using and exercising these parts of the brain to improve their concentration and focus skills. These are important skills for children to have because focus and concentration are needed not only for school but also in everyday life activities.

Coloring is relaxing 

Like adults, children experience anxiety and stress. When coloring, you are focusing on what is being colored which takes away attention from the things that are stressing a child out. This promotes feelings of calmness and relaxation. 

Coloring is also a relatively simple and low-risk activity. You have the choice of which colors to use if you want your coloring to be neat or messy, and even if you color out outside of the line, there are no real consequences. This can help reduce the anxiety that a child can feel towards the act of coloring itself. 

Promotes Confidence

Many of us, including children, struggle with confidence. Building up your child’s self-esteem is important because it affects how children face challenges in the world. When they value themselves and their abilities, it can make them feel safe, secure, and confident. Those with positive self-esteem are more likely to believe in themselves, being able to motivate themselves, take challenges in stride, and puts themselves in a better headspace for growth or success. 

Coloring also promotes confidence by creating an opportunity for children to take pride in what they have created. Perhaps the child is happy they were able to color within the lines, or excited to have created something they found esthetically pleasing, or has a sense of accomplishment towards creating something they are proud of. These are all things that can make a child feel good about themselves and their abilities, which can boost confidence and self-esteem.  

Expands knowledge 

Another benefit that coloring offers is that it allows children to gain knowledge, especially with colors. Children learn about different colors, how colors work together in a picture, how to combine colors, and more. 

Coloring also can allow children to recognize how things work together. They learn which colors go well together and which colors to use for certain aspects of a picture. 

In addition to colors, they also learn about shapes, form, patterns, perspective, and more. In this sense, coloring serves as both a recreational and educational practice. 

Coloring is therapeutic 

Coloring has many benefits with many of which being relaxing or self-gratifying. As mentioned above, it provides a creative outlet, its low stakes and allows for a mental break, and it’s a fun and easy hobby. It can even act as an emotional outlet, providing children with a safe space to express their emotions and feelings.

Children can sometimes have difficulty expressing themselves fully. Coloring can serve as an outlet to help do so, making it a fairly therapeutic practice for children, as well as people of all ages.