Some childcare providers provide coloring pages to the children, and it’s quite a debate among caregivers. Personally, I’m against them. Professionally, I’m against them. Let me tell you why.
-no imagination required. How sad… Creative expression is a stress reliever for children, as well as a coping strategy for children processing a life transition. It also helps build young amazing minds that can solve problems and think outside the box.
-coloring in the lines is hard for many children and leads to frustration. Skills develop in time, and children can feel pressure to have a “better” picture than they are capable of producing.
-they require very little collaboration between peers. Working together to create a beautiful work of art can be very rewarding.
-they aren’t open-ended, meaning the activity of coloring is the only choice. When you have blank paper, you can create anything, and use anything.
My experience has shown some benefits for some children on occasion. When you’re at a restaurant with three young children waiting for food, the coloring pages keep the kids occupied. But as early educators, our job is to keep the children engaged as opposed to busy. There’s a big difference.
Occasionally, children who are difficult to reach will migrate to coloring pages as a task. The structure and predictability of having all those lines can offer a sense of security. But of course, so can the presence of a caring educator.
This is not meant as a judgement, just advice. Please consider the intended use of coloring pages before you offer them, especially all of you early educators out there.