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By Christel Daundaratne (OT and a Mom)

Coloring for Child's Development

1. A Place and a Time


It is important to arrange a specific area that is appropriate for coloring and art works at home where you can use consistently. Also, make sure that environment is a pleasant atmosphere for the child, as well. Further, eventually, try to have specific time blocks to color on your timetable. This allows the child to learn structure and routines which is an important aspect in cognitive development and effective learning.   

By Christel Daundaratne

2. Right Tools Matter


Provide coloring tools and materials according to child’s current motor and other functional level, and special requirements. For example, for a two-year-old or a child with special needs whom fine motor skills are not sufficient, offer larger or eggs' shaped crayons that they can grab easily or any adopted tool as per needed. This is a crucial element for child to have a pleasant, effective, and safe experience of coloring with better outcomes. Remember, this doesn’t mean that you must invest in expensive materials. Mostly, you can simply modify what you have accordingly to child’s needs. For example, a child with different needs or special condition with amplified tactile sensory needs might prefer a textured crayon which either you can engrave with a butter knife or use a bubble-wrap to cover a color pencil's gripping area.

by Christel Daundaratne

blue wall picture with painting by amanda fernando and gajendra nalaka daundaratne

3. Go Step by Step


Always start from age or developmental-level appropriate pictures to color. Simply, from the simplest and then proceed to advance gradually according to own speed of learning. Introducing complex coloring pages to color at first will put child at stress and discourage to continue. Also, learning is more effective when the complexity if increased step-by-step which is supported by several studies. By Amanda Fernando

4. Encourage and Say "Hurray!"

girl coloring a flower by amanda fernando

Praise the child’s work continuously. This positive feedback encourages the child to adhere to the task, motivate, learn, and improve. Say energizing words and phrases as “Bravo”, “Wow”, “Good job” and “Amazing”. Show your delight both verbally and non-verbally. Truly, by fulfilling child’s need of recognition would not only help the child’s learning but also amplify the bonding with the caregiver. By Amanda Fernando


 5. Give a Break

a toddler coloring with water colors by Amanda Fernando

Start with shorter time blocks as tolerated by the child and gradually increase the time spent, and the frequency. Typically, during the earlier stage, it is better to aim on shorter sessions between 15-30 minutes followed by intervals as needed. This is ideal to support gradual building of focus and concentration parallel to other components mentioned above. By Amanda Fernando


Coloring is significantly easy and a cost effective activity that will help you to improve child's development and your wellbeing. Feel free to use information about benefits and guidelines about coloring for your child's benefit.  Christel Daundaratne & Melissa Jordan

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