I used to be of the belief that coloring pages were stiffling. Everywhere I looked, children were encouraged to color in their coloring books, to stay within the lines, to color things correctly…Coloring pages weren’t encouraging creativity, and neither were the parents, teachers, or caregivers who issued the orders behind the use of them. I never bought my children coloring books, but we have always had a wide assortment of dynamic and static art supplies available for their use. This worked for us. My children loved to get into the process of creating and I wasn’t stiffling their creativity.
Then one day I read an article on radical unschooling specifically about this view on coloring books that opened my eyes. It hit me like a brick. Of course it wasn’t the coloring books that were stiffling; it was the adults – the ones who said you had to color things appropriate colors, stay within the lines, etc. I thought about this for a long time. I could see the value of coloring books for a child who was wanting to experiment with color alone, so I began looking for some inexpensive coloring books that my children would enjoy. The prices of coloring books have gone up over the years. It wasn’t until last Fall that I found some for $1.
The coloring books are available, along with all of the other art and craft supplies we have out. My children have colored in them some, preferring to make their own creations most of the time. I do see them occassionally using the coloring books when they want to experiment with how certain colors go together.
I’ve also noticed that my husband enjoys using the coloring books with the kids. He can sit down and color with them and just enjoy being with them. I have really wanted to get some geometric coloring books. Dover makes some nice ones, but they are pricier, and so far we have choosen to spend our money on other things. I think these would be great for experimenting with color and geometric design. These are also something I could color with the kids and still enjoy.