Why colouring is good for children and seniors


Creating art is one of the most natural human processes, so it makes sense that as a child, we each are encouraged to make and craft in a variety of forms.

Colouring is one of the easiest activities for parents, carers, and teachers around the world, as it only requires some paper, and your favourite set of crayons, markers, pens, paints, or anything in between.

While promoting bonding between parent and child, killing some time, and honing creative skills, it’s also just really, really fun.

Pre-made designs are, of course, the canvas of choice for most younger children, as with the added task of colouring inside the lines, artistic improvement is encouraged from the get go.

However, every freehand scribble on any surface is a display of how your child is not only learning, but blossoming. Aside from just being a good time all round, colouring can have some unseen benefits for your little one’s growth and development that might surprise you.

But the magic doesn’t end there, in the last few years, adult colouring books have boomed, with amateur artistes reporting some very promising changes when it comes to stress, anxiety, and sleep issues. Colouring goes well beyond being just another fun hobby to pass the time.



 Learning Colours and Shapes

Colouring can be one of the easiest ways for children to begin learning about the different colours and shapes, that make up the world around them. Colour identification can be taught with any box of crayons, and colour by number activities are perfect for practicing colour matching.

While this is extremely beneficial for toddlers and younger children, it can also be of great benefit to older kids. The use of these scanning techniques helps children’s visual memory develop, and by using these perception skills, colouring can be of great benefit later when studying more complex topics such as reading, writing, and numeracy.


Tool Usage and Hand/Eye Co-ordination

Using our hands is obviously quite an important part of the colouring process, and therefore learning to hold crayons naturally, and comfortably while in a creative environment.

This will later make it far easier for a child to master using tools such as scissors, and eating utensils. This is achieved through proprioceptive input, to get them used to holding tools correctly.

This also greatly aids the development of hand/eye co-ordination, as to colour children need to co-ordinate their hand movements, with information being received through visual inputs. 

Practicing this co-ordination of taking things in, which will then result in certain hand movements, is easy with large pieces of paper. However, the smaller the area for colouring, the more dexterity will be practiced. This is essential for learning to write, form letters, and develop a personalised handwriting style.


Fine Motor Skills

Colouring is what’s known as a resistive activity, so it’s very good for the small muscles in a child’s hand. This is why colouring is such a good fine motor strengthening tool, especially when it comes to honing a child’s tripod grasp. 

Working on different surfaces with different mediums, such as cardboard, canvas, or even wood, can help train and strengthen the muscles of the hands.

When colouring, a child will usually have to hold the surface that they are colouring on. Using both hands, helps to develop bilateral co-ordination, which is using both hands for differing movements at once.

This motor skill will be needed for many tasks, such as handwriting, typing, and even playing musical instruments.


Sensory Input and Spatial Awareness

Varying pressures to achieve different tones and shades is an incredibly high level cognitive skill. The proprioceptive system also comes into play when a child attempts to vary the amount of pressure they are using.

Encouraging children to play with different pressures by being aware of the difference in colour, can help them master this system.

As children colour within lines and given spaces, it improves their spatial awareness to no end.

Changing the thickness of these boundaries through verbal communication, and even using raised lines, can help greatly prepare children for line and margin awareness, standard page formatting when writing, and creating within a pre-defined space.


Creativity and Self-Expression

A blank piece of paper and some pencils can inspire all sorts of artistic masterpieces, straight from your child’s imagination, which is stimulated with each colouring session.

Encouragement throughout colouring can build the all-important foundations for creativity, the most important of which is self confidence. When completing a page, children can be inspired to go on to complete other creative tasks too.



After watching children create freely, it’s so easy to realise that you definitely do not have to be anything close to a professional artist, to colour well and get boundless enjoyment from it.

If you’re looking for an uplifting activity after a particularly bad day at work, or just searching for a calming hobby, colouring intricate and beautiful pre-made designs that you can put a personal spin on, will help you unwind, de-stress, and improve your wellbeing.

Here’s just a few of the areas in which colouring can offer an improvement for adults:

  • Stress and Anxiety
  • Creativity
  • Motor Skills
  • Vision and Awareness
  • Sleep Schedules
  • Focus

This is all possible due to the areas of your brain that are stimulated when creating art through colouring.

Your frontal lobe is engaged, which controls organisational and planning skills, and allows you to focus completely on one thing.

On top of this, it requires the two sides of your brain to communicate throughout; while logic and problem solving are used to stay inside the lines of detailed patterns, choosing colours to match our emotions and creative whim, helps curate an artistic thought process.

But that’s still not all, it’s been proven that a better nights sleep comes from avoiding engaging with electronics before bed, as exposure to light reduces sleep hormones.

Colouring is the perfect bedtime ritual, as it won’t disturb your level of melatonin, and this can work at vastly reducing stress during the daytime too.

In fact, by creating an atmosphere of mindfulness and tranquility, colouring soothes your amygdala, the part of your brain which generates fear, having the same effects as meditation, and can easily calm a racing mind ready for rest.