Humans have drawn and colored for millennia. Our ancestors also did stencil handprints on cave walls almost 40,000 years ago, just like our children still do in their kindergarten art class. So why do we keep coloring and drawing? One might think that the digital era we live in has altered the importance of learning how to draw, color and use scissors. It is true that children learn almost instinctively how to use smartphones and tablets. However, there are some motor and creative skills that every human needs to master in order to thrive in life.
Drawing, cutting and coloring have long been considered as simple pastimes to keep kids busy and entertained. However, we have seen more and more adults taking part in such activities. Indeed, we see grown-ups carrying their sketchbooks and coloring books everywhere. First of all, anyone can take up this activity, not just artists. Secondly, it helps adults relieve anxiety by entering in a meditative state and focusing on a positive and constructive task. These two reasons are also important for children, but there are many more that prove the advantages of these activities.
Why is Drawing, Coloring and Cutting So Important in a Child’s Development?
1. They Improve Fine Motor Skills
However obvious it might seem, one should not neglect the 3 basic hand skills which are reaching, grasping and manipulating objects. Drawing, coloring and using scissors reinforce the strength and flexibility of wrist, hand and finger muscles and tendons. Of course, learning how to have a grip on pens and pencils will help children in other everyday situations. Such activities also help with hand-eye coordination.
2. They Prepare for Handwriting
Logically, drawing and coloring prepare children for handwriting, since they will use the same tools, pens and pencils. You can make the transition easier by having them color letters and trace them as if they were just simple drawings. Activities such as Color the Alphabet or these Discover the Letter worksheets can help children associate the pleasure of coloring with the learning of letters.
3. They Teach Colors
Coloring does not only allow kids to learn the name of colors but also to experiment with them. They develop their sense of aesthetics by trying color combinations. Color mixing is indeed a fun yet important notion to master.
4. They Enhance Concentration
Drawing, cutting and coloring are activities that demand your full attention if you want to do it neatly. In a world full of everchanging visual stimuli, focusing on a single task for a longer period is essential in the development of patience and concentration skills.
5. They Alleviate Stress and Anxiety
By focusing on an attainable, relaxing and constructive task, children can relieve some of the stress they might carry. Manual activities have indeed a soothing effect and deflect them from negative thoughts. That is why they are often used by teachers as a break from more demanding and challenging activities.
6. They Increase Self-confidence
First of all, coloring, drawing, cutting and pasting are non-threatening activities: there are no grades, no right or wrong answer. Self-esteem is always reinforced when they manage to finish a task. When seeing the final result, children should feel proud and this helps boost their confidence.
7. They Encourage Creativity
Creativity is always in motion when we draw, color or cut. Of course, you are going to guide the activities but little by little, you are going to see children creating something from scratch and even finding their own style. Teachers just have to give them the basic tools. Moreover, the disconnection from technology makes them creators rather than just consumers of contents.
8. They Help With Language
Although these activities are usually considered as silent ones, they can actually foster dialogue. Children can describe what they draw or want to draw. It will help them develop vocabulary of objects, adjectives, colors and actions.
10 Fun Activities That Include Drawing, Coloring, Cutting or Pasting
1. Drawing a Story
Before writing or telling a story, have your pupils draw the settings, characters and situations of a story they have in mind. It can look like a comic book or a storyboard. Then, they can start narrating the story based on their drawing. A fun alternative is to ask other pupils to invent a story based on somebody else’s drawings.
2. Coloring and Counting
Why not mix coloring with arithmetic? Some activities are just perfect for this. For instance, you can use some I Spy worksheets to make them both count and draw specific objects or animals.
3. Drawing and Coloring the World
During your science lessons, whether you are teaching anatomy, geology, geography, physics or biology, drawing and coloring will always help your pupils grasp some essential concepts, such as body organs, the solar system, water or animal life cycles.
4, Mandala Coloring
Mandala coloring definitely focuses on relaxation, meditation and concentration, but it also demands precision in every gesture and creativity in the choice of colors. You can use regular mandalas or others which are more children-friendly such as animals.
5. Vertical Drawing
This exercise is ideal to break the routine and develop adaptation. Children will indeed have to find new ways of holding their pens and pencils.
6. Decorating Notebooks
A notebook full of writing and no images can be a little bit boring and tiring to the eye. Therefore, teachers should include moments in which kids will decorate their notebooks with specific drawings or coloring linked to each topic.
7. Cutting and Pasting
Scissor handling is a great complement to drawing and coloring when it comes to fine motor skills. Try to link these activities with something creative and entertaining. For example, you can ask them to cut some objects and paste them at a specific place on a drawing in order to develop their knowledge and vocabulary at the same time.
8. Creating a Card Game
This is a long-term project but it can be such an interesting collective and creative one. You can either choose to create your own deck of cards based on existing ones or invent a whole new game and design the whole material for it.
The classic of classics in terms of drawing games. It is always a success and everyone has fun. It is also great to develop creativity at the moment of drawing.
10. Blindfolded Drawing
Drawing with eyes folded can help children develop their conscience of other senses beyond sight. Children are always in it for a good laugh as they try to draw objects on a piece of paper and see the results.