Children love to color, so coloring books are a great and economical investment. Not only will your child be kept busy, but they will be kept away from the television, and their imaginations will be fired up. In addition, many coloring books are educational. Coloring books are also portable (with a little box or baggy of crayons) and can be taken anywhere. Your child can color in the car, in a restaurant, in a doctor or dentist's office or just about anywhere else where they need to be distracted.
There are some things to remember though when buying a coloring book for your child.
- Choose age-appropriate coloring books. If your child is age two to six years old (depending on skill level), you may to choose coloring books with large coloring areas. You probably won't want to choose coloring books with pictures containing complex designs that take a lot of dexterity to color.
- Look at the educational level. Books that teach alphabet and numbers are great for preschool-aged children. They can color in trains, turtles and teeth on a page devoted to the letter T. If your child is older, coloring books with mazes, crossword puzzles, and find the hidden image games might be fun. If your child is still older and learning about a particular period in history, you may want to buy them a coloring book on fashion and culture from that historical period. One wonderful series is the History of Fashion coloring books drawn by a variety of artists.
- What does your child like? There are coloring books for just about every cartoon character there is. If they like trains, you can get them a train book that teaches them about the parts and history of trains. If they're reading the Harry Potter books, you may want to tie this into a Harry Potter coloring book.
- Does the coloring book offer anything else? Do paints come with the coloring book? This can be a bonus for older children, but may not be a good idea for younger children. Does the coloring book come with stickers they can use to decorate the pages? Stickers are great for children, and placing them into a specific place in a coloring book is a great way to teach patience and dexterity.
- Is something difficult going on in your child's life? There are coloring books devoted to deaths in the family, when siblings are born with disabilities, divorce and other difficult emotional times. Coloring books that deal with these issues may allow your child to express themselves and deal with some of the emotions they're feeling. Amazon.com sells a large variety of these coloring books for children. An example is My Friend with Autism: A Coloring Book for Peers and Siblings by Beverly and Craig Bishop. In addition, your church, pediatrician or child's teacher may have some recommendations.
- Check out the Anti-Coloring Books series by Susan Striker (see link). These are wonderful coloring books designed for children six and up. They allow children to use their imaginations, learn about exciting things and answer fun questions.