Why I Don’t Give My Toddler Coloring Books

Why I Don’t Give My Toddler Coloring Books

Posted by Jean Van’t Hul on November 10th, 2011 on Toddler Times

I believe strongly in authentic art experiences for children, and despite some crazy crafting urges that overcome me this time of year (and that result in more adult-initiated, holiday-themed craft projects), I mostly enable my daughters to do plenty of process-oriented art. I don’t want them to oh-so-carefully color in the lines of a drawing of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I want them to draw and paint, collage and sculpt, to create just as they desire.

I don’t buy my toddler coloring books and here’s why:

Coloring books teach children to be passive about their art. Rather than drawing something themselves, they are coloring in adult-drawn images.

Coloring books teach toddlers to compare their art to an adult’s.

Coloring books set toddlers up for failure. Coloring inside the lines? How many toddlers can, or better question, should, do that?

Scribbling is linked to future literacy. The more toddlers scribble and draw, the easier it is for them to learn to write later. As toddlers scribble, they learn to make all the shapes necessary to write the alphabet. Coloring inside predetermined lines doesn’t allow this to happen.

So what do I do instead? I celebrate the scribble. I provide blank paper and markers (or crayons, paints, pastels…) for my toddler to explore as she sees fit. And I’m careful about the way I talk about her art.

That’s not to say we don’t own any coloring books. My older daughter has been given a few over time and I don’t make a big deal out of it. She enjoys them for a few days then I put them away on a closet shelf (they are not missed, in case you are wondering) . Every once in a while—on a rainy day or when she is home sick from school—I get one out briefly for its novelty.

How about you? What do you think about coloring books? Do you use them wholeheartedly? Sometimes? Never?

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Shop local!!

We are very saddened to see several independent stores in Evanston and Glenview with “Going Out Of Business” signs.  The only way to stop this awful situation is for everyone to think about their favorite local stores and what they would do without them.  Yes, the Big Boxes may be cheaper on some items.  Yes, the internet discounts on some items.  But your local stores are a part of the community.  They know you and care about you.  They are there to help you find approriate gifts.   They will special order for you.  They will call another store to try and find you an item they do not have.  They will wrap the gifts for you!  And they try to employ community people in their businesses.  So save your local economy and your favorite stores by shopping (and buying) in local, independent stores.

Here is advice from the 3/50 project:

Think about which three independently owned businesses you’d miss most if they were gone. Stop in and say hello.  Pick up a little something that will make someone smile.  Your contribution is what keeps those businesses around.

If just half the employed U.S. population spent $50 each month in independently owned businesses, their purchases would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue.*  Imagine the positive impact if 3/4 of the employed population did that.

For every $100 spent in independently owned stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll, and other expenditures. If you spend that in a national chain, only $43 stays here. Spend it online and nothing comes home.

The number of people it takes to start the trend…you.

©® Cinda Baxter 2010; all rights reserved. Proudly supporting RetailSpeaks and independent retailers everywhere.

* Employment statistics courtesy U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2/6/2009; 68/43 courtesy Civic Economics study, 2008.

Pick 3. Spend 50. Save your local economy.

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Maurice Sendak

I was saddened to hear of the passing of Maurice Sendak this morning.  As a teacher I always enjoyed reading his books to my students.  We did so many projects, drawing or creating our own Wild Things, listening to his books on records, and acting out his stories.  When Becky was a baby,I bought Sendak’s Nutshell Library which includes “Pierre”, “One Was Johnny”, “Chicken Soup With Rice”, and “Alligators All Around”.  We read them often and listened to them on a record.  I have a copy of the Nutshell Library here in the store, and I laugh as I remember Ron telling me how he’d be walking downtown, still singing… “and one was Johnnie who lived by himself and liked it like that!”  We are sorry for his passing but celebrate his creative life which contributed so much to  so many children!  

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