Motherhood, Art, Creative Play, and Finding Joy in Everyday Life

Coloring Outside The Box


Simon really loves to color, and I am always delighted when he requests to do so. It is something that takes place pretty much daily around here, and Jeramy and I like to join right in and color with our little guy. (I am a strong believer in this type of role modeling.)

Since we are dragging out the crayons and paper so often, I sometimes try to shake things up a bit and swap materials out. Yesterday, for example, I grabbed the neglected black construction paper out of the pack and gathered up only white, grey, silver, and pale, pastel-colored crayons, as well as our chalks. Simon seemed to really love the way the chalk showed up on the dark paper, and he pointed at several scribbles and said “Nake! Ssssss!” which meant that in his mind he was drawing snakes. One scribble said “Raaarr!” and Jeramy and I were informed, after some questioning, that this one was a “Dino“. I don’t know if it was because of the change from the usual coloring materials, but Simon had more of an attention span for the activity than usual, and seemed to really notice the way it felt to make the marks.

Here are some other simple ways to change-up the coloring routine.

For coloring surface try:
~Tissue paper
~Cardboard (Left over boxes are great! If they are printed, such as cereal boxes,  just rip or cut them open and use the blank surface on the inside.)
~Junk mail
~Staple or tie together small sheets of paper to make a little blank book for your child to color in. You could also draw some simple pictures for them to add color to or spark their creativity. (For example, draw a horizon line or a circle with just two dots for eyes and see what they add to it.)
~Rocks or leaves
~Cardboard tubes
~Paper plates
~Coffee filters
~Paper towels

For coloring with try:
~Selecting only certain colors, such as only shades of blue. (Some kids might like the result of this restriction, others will miss the full choice of color too much.)
~Different types of crayons, such as dry erase crayons, twist-up crayons, window crayons, etc. (We have some dry erase crayons for the white board, but they also make very bright, vivid marks when used on paper.)
~Let your child use a pen or pencil. Kids want to use the things they see grown-ups using, and will be delighted to try out what we might think of as just a boring old pen used to pay the bills. (At least, I know Simon always is.)
~show them how to rub the crayon on the paper sideways
~Non-toxic and washable oil pastels, colored pencils, markers, etc. Even little toddlers might have fun with these. (Supervised, of course.)
~Binding several crayons together

As always, I encourage parents, family members, and friends of little kids to dive right in and color too. Not only do you get to indulge your inner child, but you will also be showing your little one that creativity is an exciting process.

Happy coloring!


Author: thismummaslife

I am a Mumma, Wife and part-time Assistant Children's Librarian. I want this blog to be a collection of moments from daily life that may inspire or be relatable. Please feel free to leave me comments, thoughts, feedback or stories from your own life.

4 thoughts on “Coloring Outside The Box

  1. Great lists! I love the ideas of pre-selecting shades of blue, bundling crayons together, and using junk mail. FUN!!!

  2. not to mention that when you participate in activities with your kids they feel more grown up. you’re not modeling that it’s below you or too childish to do what they do, but rather that you are bringing them up to your level. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Drawing Together « thismummaslife

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