Earlier this week, Arlo returned home from nursery having painted almost his entire head yellow and - in between wondering what on earth he'd been trying to do - it got me thinking about the benefits of colouring.
Of course, we all know mark-making is an important developmental milestone and the precursor to writing, but it is so much more than that. Colouring can include a huge range of mediums from crayons to felt tips, charcoals, paints and more.
But what skills does colouring help to develop and why is it so important?
Colouring is an activity which is perfect for encouraging patience. After all, going from that big sheet of white to a beautiful piece of art takes time. Patience is a skill that must be learnt and colouring is a stress free way to do just that!
Great For Mindfulness & Relaxation
Now more than ever, our children's mental health is of the utmost importance. For many children, the last few years have been very difficult and having an activity that is peaceful, slow, repetitive and allows them to have some calm time is the perfect way to improve mindfulness.
The more time your child spends with activities like colouring, the more their concentration levels will improve. Of course, we don't want to give our children a lot of tasks to complete especially if they've been at nursery or school all day, but a quick colouring activity is the perfect way to allow for some focus and concentration time. It is also a great way to unwind and focus from the big events of the way to the wind down of an evening routine.
Provides A Great Opportunity For Communication
Colouring when done jointly, creates the perfect opportunity for communication and language development. Once your little one begins to focus on their colouring, they will naturally open up and begin a conversation. If you are looking to steer the conversation in a particular direction, for example if your child is about to start school, you can choose images that link to this topic (a schoolroom image, playground etc.) and it will create the perfect introduction to honest and open talk.
The action of colouring also makes children feel at ease. Often, talking to grown-ups can be intimidating for children and having something else to focus on makes the conversation seem more casual.
You might have known that colouring is good for mark-making and fine motor control, but did you know that colouring improves future handwriting skills, too?
Developing the movement and flow needed for colouring is a great early skill that, in later life, links to letter formation and handwriting.
Promotes Confidence and Creativity
Even as an adult, we feel extremely proud whenever we create something beautiful, right? Well, children feel exactly the same way! Colouring is the perfect way to improve self-confidence while also allowing their creative juices to flow!
All these reasons prove that colouring is more than just a 'keep them busy' activity. It is an important tool that significantly improves a child's development.