Published at Saturday, 11 May 2019. Color by Number. By Lacyann Perret.
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.
The History of Paint-by-Number, Paint-by-number kits were first developed in 1950 by Max S. Klein, an engineer at and owner of the Palmer Paint Company in Michigan. These kits were co-created with commercial artist Dan Dobbins. Wikipedia stated, “In 1951 Palmer Paint introduced the Craft Master brand which sold over 12 million kits. This public response induced other companies to produce their own versions of paint by number.” Paint-by-number kits had mass appeal, and for good reason: they gave everyone the chance to create something beautiful. Although many art critics detested these kits, the public loved them. While they are not as popular as they used to be, paint-by-number kits are an American trademark and are still well-loved by people all over the world.
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