I think sometimes as teachers, many of us are apprehensive about giving children a page to color. It seems giving children pictures to color is frowned upon because there are other ways to present activities. But, there are benefits to coloring. I was recently reminded of that while reading my Handwriting Without Tears(HWT) guide. I wanted to share these with you so we could all remember how important this skill is. Even for Mom and Dad, yes, coloring pictures has its benefits.
According to my HWT guide, developed by Jan Z. Olsen, coloring is fun for children, and it does allow them to be creative. As children develop, we also see development in their coloring. Young colorers will color broadly over the illustration. As the children develop their skills, their movements will become smaller and more precise. Coloring also has "great benefits for developing coordination, grip, and strength."
By observing coloring one can also determine a child's handwriting readiness. Things to look for to help determine a child's handwriting readiness are: "Attention, crayon grip, posture/strength/endurance, and the use of the helping hand(the hand that holds the paper)."
Ms. Olsen also has some good advice to help children with coloring. She suggests: using easy and appealing illustrations, helping with crayon hold, encouraging children to draw on the illustrations, and also demonstrating different ways to color such as: side-to-side, up-and down, small circular motion, and staying in the lines. She also suggests the use of small crayons, smaller utensils encourage proper grip.
So go ahead, give your children something to color. Watch for their different techniques, and also look for areas that they could use practice.