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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Ode to Colouring Books

I love colouring books! That's a dangerous statement it seems. I can almost hear the gasps and shudders of  early childhood professionals from here. I know, I know, they are dangerous - they are said to stifle a child's creativity and destroy self-esteem as desperate tots try to keep within the lines of those pre-drawn pictures.


 But what if they DON'T? What if those tots just enjoy putting marks on the paper? What if they aren't even interested in staying in the lines, they just enjoy recognizing familiar pictures? Will they be permanently damaged then? What if they actually LIKE the books, and the pictures, and the colouring? My buddies asked me for the books and crayons this morning. I always keep a few battered colouring books around. I watched a buddy flip the pages and choose the picture they wanted. I watched another scribble enthusiastically on several pages with no respect or acknowledgement for lines whatsoever until they discovered a page of letters! My buddy then excitedly pointed to and named several letters that he recognized. He then put some colour marks on a few choice letters. After 10 - 15 minutes my buddies were done with the colouring books. But in that time they practiced turning pages, gripping a crayon and making purposeful marks, strengthened the muscles they will use one day in printing and made choices about the pictures they wanted to colour!


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I'm not claiming this was a big art activity. It wasn't. But my buddies get lots of creative art time.
One day, if a class action lawsuit is launched against the manufacturers of colouring books, AND the manufacturers lose their case, I will host a big colouring book burning and be done with them forever and always. But until then, I don't think there is enough evidence to convince me of the irreparable harm in using them. I have seen proof, however of the enjoyment of them.

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