Many of the coloring pages found on the Net are the print-and-play variety. Print out the black and white picture and use your crayons to color them in. Today's sites, however, are virtual coloring books -- you color, paint and draw right on your computer screen. These interactive coloring pages are great for preschoolers, kindergarteners and budding artists of all ages. [Editor's Note: An updated version of this topic can be found here: Interactive Coloring]
This site hits the mark with a large selection of pictures and the ability to email your completed masterpieces to friends and family with a small personal note. Coloring.com loses a star, however, for only letting you color within the lines -- no free form coloring is possible. Pictures are grouped into topics such as cars (the largest topic), animals, birthdays and holidays. What a fun way to send electronic art across the Net!
To find the Disney coloring pages, click on "Online Paint and Play" and a list of characters (Ariel, Mulan, Lion King and Winne the Pooh) will appear on the right. Choosing your favorite character will load a Java-based Paint Center which includes a variety of paintbrushes for free form painting (hooray!), a paint can tool for filling spaces, lots of colors, an eraser, water to lighten your paints, a stamp pad with a nice selection of stamps (fun, fun, fun) and several pictures. Use the arrow or Mickey's pointing finger to advance from one picture to the next.
Now for something totally different: Kaleidoscope Painter creates colorful spiraling fractal designs based on the movement of your mouse. You can change the effects by moving your mouse or resizing the brush. You can even put it on Auto and watch as the mesmerizing lacy designs create themselves. Guaranteed to capture your imagination.
These four Shockwave pictures from the cartoonist Radicalman are equipped with not just one palette of colors, but four that range from pastel to bold. Another unique feature is Scramble, which automatically colors the picture with a selection of random colors. Very young point-and- clickers will enjoy being able to paint an entire picture with a single click -- and watching the colors change with each subsequent click.