Unfortunately, with advancing technology, coloring has taken a back seat in a toddlers’ learning experience. With the whole shift in online learning and social distancing, moms everywhere are struggling to keep their toddlers engaged and entertained without using screens or at least by limiting their screen time. An excellent alternative to screen time would be coloring. It is a fun indoor activity with a great many benefits! Remember that before a child learns to write, they need to know how to hold a pencil—coloring is the first step towards holding a pencil.
Here are a few tips on how to introduce coloring as an activity into your toddler’s daily activities:
1. Introduce Watercolors First
Toddlers love colors despite their age, so try and introduce them to watercolors when they are about 12 months of age. Get a couple of organic watercolors and let your baby get a little messy with it. Encourage hand-painting, and join them in making their first masterpiece if you like! You could also get some veggies like okra and potatoes involved for some food stamping activities.
2. Give One Color At A Time
Toddlers tend to be unpredictable. If you introduce too much too soon, they might lose curiosity. We say—introduce a single color at a time. Let them enjoy it and be creative with each color. After a good few days, introduce a new color. This way, you can allow your child to be creative and draw out this activity for a longer time.
3. Introduce Crayons Under Strict Parental Supervision
Yes, you read that right. Introduce a big fat crayon into your child’s life. Make sure this is done under strict parental supervision since it is more than likely for your child to confuse the crayon with finger food. Let them get used to it. Initially, let them grab it instinctively and allow them to get comfortable holding it.
4. Teach How To Hold The Crayon
After your child is comfortable with the crayon, try teaching the correct way of holding it. This will require patience and a lot of corrective work. If held incorrectly, the toddler might have difficulty in controlling hand movements. However, we’d recommend you not to be ambitious. Let them scribble. It is also about enjoying the process!
5. Introduce Coloring Books
Once your toddler gets the hang of the crayon and the right way of holding it, introduce a jumbo coloring book. Show them what needs to be done. Let them be messy in the beginning and progressively teach them how to color within the lines. This will help in developing their motor skills.
Some added benefits of coloring:
1. Color Identification
Using different colors gives you children the opportunity to explore and learn about them. Tell your child the name of each color as you introduce them, and make sure you continue mentioning them each time your kid is surrounded by such colors. It will also help your child gain awareness of their surroundings.
2. Confidence Booster
Encourage your toddler to color more by praising them. Ambush them with applauds, kisses, and hugs whenever they finish a task or give the correct answer. This will give your child confidence and further encourage them to do better.
3. Develops Hand-eye Coordination
Coloring not only helps in improving motor skills but also helps in developing hand-eye coordination. When they watch themselves color, they subconsciously understand that their body is connected and capable of coordination.
4. Helps In Calming Them Down (Without Screens!)
Toddlers are super active and require some activity to level down their ‘zoomies.’ Whenever you feel your child is getting hyperactive, bring out your gigantic coloring book and watch them calm down instantly.
5. Encourages Creativity
Coloring stimulates creative centers in a child’s mind. It helps them imagine and introduces pathways to other activities such as painting and chalk drawings!
Teaching your toddler how to color is an incredible experience! Being a child once yourself, we are sure you can imagine the thrills of it. Sure, it is a gateway to colored walls and endless scribbled masterpieces, but it is also a perfect way of bonding with your child. It is screen-time free and has oh-so-many benefits. All you need is a few primary watercolor bottles, a bunch of jumbo crayons, and your cute little toddler!