Coloring Pages as an Educational Tool for Preschoolers
by Marko Petkovic
Developmental milestones are activities and tasks most children can do at a certain age.
Children reach these milestones through playing, learning, interacting with the environment and obtaining certain skills. As children reach early childhood, they become more and more interested in the world around them. They are keen to explore, to learn, ask and get to know the world around them. The amount of stimuli a child experiences will influence his or her cognitive development, personality, social and motor skills.
There are many ways to influence and improve a child's cognitive development and motor skills. One simple activity like coloring can have a positive psychological effect and it could lead to a healthier life. Coloring pages are not art therapy, but are very relaxing, stress-relieving and boost mental clarity. Some of the key advantages of coloring books are:
Motor skills improvement
Coloring activity involves holding a coloring tool and scribbling which helps the motor skills development of fine muscles in wrists, fingers and hands. This activity will help a child with writing and manipulating small objects. Later on, better coordination of fine motor muscles can have a positive influence on academic performance. Using coloring pages as a way to improve motor skills is an excellent method to strengthen hand muscles, which will support a child in later activities such as writing, typing, playing sports and manipulating objects. While coloring, a child is learning to control fine motor movements, to fill in variety of shapes, color within the lines and patterns. These are all precursory skills to dressing, eating and many other important school related activities.
Hand to eye coordination improvement
Even though it seems quite simple, coloring requires a great amount of brain activity and coordination for a child. Basic coordination like holding a crayon and doing the coloring while recognizing a color can improve motor coordination. Using coloring pages as an educational tool and a way to enhance motor development is very relaxing for a child and is an activity that every child enjoys. Simple tasks of holding a crayon, color and shape perception and recognition as well as picking a color might seem extremely easy when you are an adult, but for a child this is stimulating and fun. These activities are precursory skills to writing, tying a shoe and managing clothes with both hands.
Exposure to boundaries, structure and spacial awareness
Teaching a child boundaries is an important part of child’s cognitive development. It is quite beneficial if a child learns the rules before breaking away. Coloring pages for kids can be helpful in acquiring a sense for structure and boundaries. Other than positive influence on child's personality development, coloring pages can be one of the learning resources for shapes, colors, perspective, patterns and forms.
Coloring activity fosters creativity among children and enhances perception for visual differences. Starting out with coloring pages early in childhood nourishes imagination and inspires children to develop divergent thinking and to think about new ideas.
Color perception and recognition improvement
It is important that a child learns the names and hues of colors. Coloring pages for kids stimulate awareness and usage of primary and most common colors. Also, a child can learn about many more subtle colors which is why coloring books can be a useful educational tool.
In order to develop writing skills – a child must have hand strength, attention to detail and dexterity. Using coloring pages for kids as an educational tool will have a positive influence on acquiring these skills that are required for writing (that will come more naturally and easily).
Relaxation and focusing
Psychologists told the Huffington Post that by engaging multiple parts of the brain, coloring allows a child to focus on the lines, shapes, movement and colors at hand. Coloring activity trains focus, calms the mind and is an excellent centering activity. A very important part of our brain called amygdala is associated with emotions, memory and fear response. While a child is enjoying coloring pages, amygdala rests which has a calming effect over time.
Even though coloring pages can contain simple pictures, it can be a challenging task for kids. The ability to complete a picture successfully builds a better self - esteem and confidence among children. Therefore, completing projects such as these will foster a feeling of accomplishment. Creating a piece of art will be a nice emotional boost for children. As a result, child will embrace its creativity and will develop a feeling of self - worth.
Self – expression
Coloring pages for kids are a great way to give a child an opportunity to express him/herself differently than others. Children are visual in nature and coloring is a natural way of self - expression.
Coloring activity is proven to be therapeutic for some kids, especially if it is done frequently. Among many benefits mentioned before, using coloring pages can reduce stress and anxiety, and can be a way of venting frustration without hurting anyone. Coloring is a simple but useful manner for processing feelings, emotions and frustrations.
Many kids like to color and it seems to be more than just a fun free time activity. Have in mind that even though educational technology has gone way up, there are some simple learning resources and tools like coloring pages that can be used to enhance cognitive development. This easy tool should be used every day as a part of educational material in every school as it is proven to be influential to personality development starting from early childhood.
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