Coloring (or, Art for the Artistically Inhibited)

I’ve never really thought I was capable of being an artist. I took art from kindergarten all the way to twelfth-grade photography. I’ve sculpted clay pots, glued collages, taken pictures with a pin-hole camera I made out of a coffee can, and even had some of my work displayed (okay, when I say displayed, I mean hung up in my mom’s hallway). In spite of all this, I’ve always felt creatively challenged. I’ve always wanted to be, well, arty, but never felt I had the skill. In my early 20s, this desire to be creative has manifested in my new-found knitting hobby and in my origami endeavors (which seem to have stalled on making paper cranes and nothing else).

Who said coloring books were straight-forward? This looks like a regular Jackson Pollack! (Image Credit:

I have to believe that there are other kids who have felt the same way I did. The only way to get over the anxiety of not being an artist is to produce things, though, and that can be a  daunting task outside of the classroom. While setting up elaborate art projects for your kids can be fun, it can also be time-consuming and messy. A simple way to help your child express his or her creative artistic side?

Coloring books.

Alright, this may seem kind of anticlimactic, but let me justify this idea  a little bit. Coloring involves a lot of artistic decisions. After all, the sky doesn’t have to be blue in every picture. Staying in the lines is optional, after the basic ability to stay within the lines has been achieved. Coloring books can offer a structured space to exercise the skills required to produce art, and this structure can be liberating for kids who may not engage with as much ease in bigger projects.

Of course there are many coloring books to choose from, but one of my personal favorites was a My Little Pony coloring book, as there are endless pony color combinations to be made. Dinosaur coloring books can be fun, too, because nobody knows exactly what colors dinosaurs were to begin with, so your budding Picasso can take as much artistic license as his or her little heart desires.

What are other stress-free ways you’ve found to inspire your child to creativity?


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Filed under Academic Advice, Improved Learning, My Experiences, Parenting

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