The Benefits of Colouring, to Help Improve Writing Skills.
Colouring books have been used for such reasons as marketing tools, to explain politics and recently as relaxation exercise for adults.
There are many benefits for children when colouring, which can be linked to writing.
If you gave the same colouring sheet to a group of children, with a variety of coloured pencils, you are unlikely to find two completed sheets the same.
This is the same as creative writing. If you give children a topic to write about, most often events which happen in the story are not similar.
Improved fine-motor skills
Fine motor skills are small movements which use the small muscles such as fingers and wrist. Any activity which uses small movements such as cutting, colouring, threading, turning pages, buttoning, pegging clothes or picking up small items improves a child’s fine motor skills.
These skills use precision and co-ordination which are two areas needed for handwriting.
Colouring in allows a child to practise holding a pencil in the correct grip without the extra worry about forming letters. Please note though, a child’s hand muscles need to be ready to be able to hold a pencil with the correct grip. Do not try to force your child to hold a pencil with the correct grip as they may end up disliking writing or colouring.
Increased strength in the hand muscles
Holding a pencil and colouring in with small or large movements help strengthen a child’s hand muscles. Strong hand muscles are needed to hold and control a pencil when handwriting.
Increased attention span
Attention span in toddlers is about 5 minutes long, this increases to 20 minutes in the first year of schooling. Activities such as reading a book to them or colouring in helps to improve attention span.
Hand Eye Co-ordination
Children move from random scribbling, where they may not be aware, they are responsible for the scribbling appearing on the page. The next stage is controlled scribbling where a child is aware that the movements of their hand are responsible for the scribbling on the page. Colouring in, children realise they are directly related to the hand movements they are making, big movements make big strokes, little movements make little strokes.
Sense of Achievement
Children who struggle in schooling and often don’t complete set work may have a chance to feel a sense of achievement by completing a colouring in, in a stress-free environment. It is a chance to display the work , they may be proud of.
Children can feel relaxed while colouring in if the activity is not too structured or too many guidelines given. Writing at times causes children to feel stressed, thinking about letter formation, placement on line, topic and spelling. If colouring in was given as an option after writing had finished it is a chance to relax, with no stresses placed on them.
Switching on the right side of the brain
The right side of the brain is the creative centre, which is needed during creative writing. Colouring in also uses the right side of the brain.
Child’s choice between fantasy and reality
I think this is my favourite benefit. It is interesting to watch the development of colouring in. Younger children tend to set less colour restrictions on themselves. They will colour the grass in red or sky purple, older children tend to use the more realistic colouring, grass is green and the sky is blue. Children should be told, colouring in like creative writing, there should be no wrong answers. It is up to you to create your own image or your own story. If you want a table to talk, that is okay. If you want the grass to be red, that is okay. A child can choose to colour a fantasy image or realistic.
Educational environments often cause children to become anxious, especially if they are asked to complete an activity such as writing, which they feel is difficult or frustrating for them. Colouring can help to calm children who are in a heightened (anxious) state. It may begin to distract them and relax them from their worries. Once calm, then discussion on what caused the behaviour can begin.