Published at Thursday, 09 May 2019. Color by Number. By Nicola Hamon.
Coloring Books And Worksheets: What’s The Value Of ’Staying In The Lines’? Crayons, of course. Scented markers. Colored pencils, resharpened. And coloring books by the jillions. Why do people like coloring so much? For grown-ups, I can totally get the nostalgia — and the simple pleasure of creating something. But here at NPR Ed, we’re all about kids and learning. And so, as parents head to the store this summer with their back-to-school lists, we thought this question was worth a serious look: Do coloring books have any educational value? Do they squash creativity like a bug or, as some sites suggest, promote the development of fine motor skills? I’ve seen my daughter bring home worksheets from elementary school, asking her to color in this or that picture after answering a math or word problem. And, I’ve wondered as I watched her complete these assignments, ”Isn’t this busywork?”. I’ve always thought coloring books are, educationally speaking, bad news. That ”staying in the lines” isn’t really the kind of independent and creative thinking we want to nurture. Am I right? So, as part of our Tools of the Trade series, here’s a look at kids and coloring books and whether they have any place in the classroom.
First off, even though it may seem that children are quite restrained when coloring these coloring pages in terms of shapes, choice of colors and what not, color by number images can really be encouraging for some kids. Namely, there are children who feel frustrated when given too many choices and opportunities to make decisions. For some of them, having to pick colors and plan the way to color a picture might come as torture, making them feel anxious and nervous. That is why these color by number coloring pages are more than welcome: you are already told what to do, therefore you can relax and perform the actions. One more major benefit of color by number coloring pages is that not only young kids learn how to discern colors (in terms of primary and secondary ones), but they also learn how to put numbers in contexts other than counting. Here, numbers are presented as mere symbols that can and will occur anywhere else in real life.
Since tomorrow is National Coloring Book Day, today seems like a good day to talk about color by number exercises, and some of the principal benefits of color by number activities, and why they are good exercises to give to your kids, either at home or in a classroom setting. So here we go: Color by number exercises encourage creativity, But wait, you might say… color by number exercises give children defined colors and limits… why would this support creativity and imagination? Well, if you have children who don’t naturally want to draw or color, or feel timid doing so, color by number exercises offer a “safe zone” that kids can use to practice working with color and design. This can lead to future drawing, painting, or coloring activities.
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