I was just wondering do your kids color in pre-made pictures? When I was at the University of Miami I majored in Education and was sure I was going to be a meanie Principal some day. That part never happenned but as it turns out I *am* working with kids.
The subject of materials came up and I and many others in my class agreed that coloring in things, staying in the lines and conforming to coloring correctly were not very creative endeavors for most children and our professor assured us it was a thing of the past and teachers now understood the value of drawing. This was back in 1994… I was shocked when boy2001 came home with loads of colored in xerox copied sheets (guess I should be glad they were not mimeographed, remember those purple smelly sheets we loved so well?). One such paper actually had a typewritten message on it – puhleeze, change your materials up a little bit. Haven’t you ever heard of the anti-coloring book?
The point for me is if you give a child a blank piece of paper and some crayons they will make you a colorful, fanciful design. If you give them a premade coloring sheet that you’ve handed out year after year what do they hand you back? if it’s neatly done do you praise them for “staying in the lines” or coloring a blank the ‘correct’ color? It is tempting to get those coloring books and I HAVE bought a few for my kids when the price is right as a special treat but often these are character based from a show they’ve seen which is another reason to stay away.
My kids really enjoy what I call ‘guided drawing’ sometimes. I tell them to draw a circle in green, with an orange triangle on top and red rectangle all around that, etc… they really get into it and you can make it as elaborate as you like or the kids are capable of.