I have heard that some artists disapprove of colouring books as they say this restricts a child’s creativity. However, there are many benefits of colouring exercises and colouring books:
1. Stimulation of visual memory: Many people are visual learners and they do not easily forget what they have seen. Thus a child looking at pictures in a colouring book will learn about the shape and proportion of things (for example, of a tree to a house or the size of a window compared with a door). They will also notice details in pictures and learn from them, for example some shirts have collars and pockets.
2. Colour awareness and observation: Some children may not even notice that leaves of flowers are green, so they colour them in blue. The next time they are outside and they notice the colour of the leaves, they are sure to change their choice of colour. There are normally quite a few colours in a box of crayons. Being offered a variety of choices, will help the child to become aware of the not so well known colours.
3. Hand-eye co-ordination: In order to write, the hands and the eyes need to work together. Children need exercises to develop this.
4. The development of fine-motor skills: that is the co-ordination of the small muscles of the hands and fingers, necessary for writing and for doing many other tasks.
5. Crossing the mid-line: In order to write children need to be able to cross the mid-line. That is they need to be able to go from one side of the paper to the next. If a child is right handed and has problems crossing the mid-line, he will only draw on the right hand side of the paper and may even turn the paper to the right to do so.
6. Self esteem: The child’s self esteem is boosted when she has finished colouring her picture and it is admired. The child has a sense of accomplishment.
7. Creative thinking: I have seen many a creative child add on to given colour-in pictures. Some have added hats, patterns on a dress, animals, flowers, birds and other things.