There are only so many things that a preschooler can do; preschoolers can cry, sleep, eat, and ask for presents. They usually have very short attention spans and lack many of the critical skills that would make them more independent. However, many of them would like some control over their lives because mommy and daddy make all the decisions. As a result it can be difficult to find activities to do with preschoolers that leave parents, teachers, and or students satisfied. If you are having trouble keeping your preschooler or preschoolers occupied, consider doing some fun coloring activities. Coloring is a great way to release some of that great creative energy that all children possess. It also provides preschoolers with the sort of independence they would like to have; when a preschooler colors they get to choose the colors and how they fit into a design.
One of my personal favorite coloring activities with preschoolers is to have them color their favorite animals. Because most preschoolers do not know how to draw it is important that you provide them with basic outlines. These can be purchased in almost any school supply store and should have a wide variety of common animals. Giving the child the ability to choose which animal to color will greatly increase their enjoyment in the coloring activity.
Allow the children to use whatever colors they desire. The point of coloring is creativity which need not follow the constraints of reality. If a child wants to color a wolf green then allow him or her to do so. As a child realizes that they have artistic license, they will become increasingly creative and take more and more chances. They will also know that coloring time is a creative time when they can express themselves.
Whenever you color with preschoolers make sure that you have a large selection of coloring pencils or markers. When a child takes a marker or pencil make sure that they know the name of the color they are using. This technique helps you to teach them a larger vocabulary for colors.
Although not necessary, you can put preschoolers artwork on display and allow them to talk about it. In some cases it might be appropriate to hold competitions for the best coloring job with a prize for the winner. Another fun activity is to create a very large outline of an animal on multiple sheets of paper. Have each child color a separate sheet in whatever fashion they choose. Finally, assemble all the sheets–you get a funky multi-colored animal to hang on a wall or ceiling.
When children color their favorite animals they need not be stuck in the world of reality. Allow preschoolers to invent new animals by combining various parts from other animals. You can also extend your coloring adventures into the land of fantasy. Most preschoolers know about dragons and unicorns, and possibly other mystical beasts. Even if they don’t know much about these creatures they would probably be more than happy to color them.
Be sure to give each child attention as they color their animals. If you want coloring to be a positive experience you need to notice the good work every child does. A lack of praise can send a negative message to a child. Comment on the interesting features of each child’s drawing and ask they why they chose to color the animal the way they did.
Coloring favorite animals is bound to be a hit with any group of preschoolers. Give it a try the next time you are looking for something to do with a child.
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