I remember serving on church staff and having different thoughts about coloring sheets. First off, when I served on church staff, my wife and I were DINKs (you know, double income, no kids). I remember thinking that coloring sheets were most of all a time filler and didn’t have much use for them.
Then, I came to Lifeway. I remember hearing things about coloring sheets stifling creativity and I began to understand how coloring sheets could do that. I mean, kids have huge imaginations and when they are forced to color in the lines or make ducks yellow, I can see that it could be a bit restraining.
As a parent and a church member, I have learned even more. There are a lot people who use coloring sheets, whether right or wrong, good or bad. They use them. There are a lot of kids who love them and there are a lot of kids who don’t. I also know that my five-year-old, Nash, loves coloring pages.
You may have noticed that Lifeway|Kids now supplies coloring pages for their curriculum lines: The Gospel Project and Bible Studies for Life. By supplying coloring pages, our goal isn’t to force people to use them. The goal is to help churches use coloring sheets better. You see, I’ve been in churches where the story was on Noah and the kids were coloring pictures of Snoopy. I’ve also seen teachers spending many hours downloading less than stellar Bible story coloring sheets that might have gone along with the lesson. Our goal is to give a biblically accurate, coloring sheet that directly correlates with each session.
How much more impact does it make that your kids would actually color a picture of the story they are studying and also can see the “real” picture that it is from?
Yesterday, I did a little experiment on our Facebook wall and got opinions about coloring pages. Here is what I learned:
- Lyndsey said “When I was a preschool minister, a lot of my kids begged for coloring sheets.”
- Jaime said: “I like to use them as an early arriver activity in a center in my room.”
- Chris said: “What else are kids going to draw jet fighters, spaceships, and cool monsters on?”
- Beth said: “As a parent of a 4-year-old, I don’t like them. It’s a time filler and she just scribbles on them.”
- Deana said: “I like them if they are used properly and not just a time filler.”
- Stacy said: “I prefer not to use them as a main activity.”
- Jenni said: “Coloring pages have opened the door for further discussion when I sit down beside them and color a picture too.”
- Cindy said: “I love watching my kids use their imaginations creating things in our writing center with blank paper and supplies.”
- Shannon said: “I prefer creativity, but if it means a Bible verse or Bible truth makes it into a home, possibly onto a fridge, GO FOR IT!”
- Bitsy said: “I would like coloring pages in my Adult Sunday School class.”
I also asked my good friend and preschool minister, Delanee Williams, to weigh-in with her opinion. She shared:
Through my years in ministry, I haven’t been a fan of coloring sheets mainly because I feel preschoolers learn better through learning activities and coloring on blank paper allows them to be creative. Also, it’s difficult to find a quality coloring page that isn’t too hard for younger preschoolers.
However, the last couple of months, I’ve witnessed some positive ways to use coloring pages. A few of our teachers for older preschoolers like to offer the coloring sheet provided on the enhanced CD as an early arrival activity. As the children color, the teachers use the time to introduce the Bible lesson for the day to the children. The teachers are providing a coloring page that reinforces the day’s lesson rather than finding one on the internet. Recently, I was with some preschoolers in my extended family. As I was playing with them, I decided to open up the coloring page on the Bible Studies for Life App. They loved using that feature and wanted to do it many times and each day I was with them.
In both of these situations, the kids were so excited to show their parents their coloring page. This gave the parents an opportunity to help reinforce the Bible lesson.
Although, I still don’t feel coloring pages are the best activity for preschoolers, I’m reminded the “how” and “why” is more important than the “what.” Whether the tool is a coloring page or a learning activity, it’s the teacher or the parent interacting and connecting with the child that helps the child learn the Bible lesson.
I love Delanee’s line: I’m reminded the “how” and “why” is more important than the “what.” Whether the tool is a coloring page or a learning activity, it’s the teacher or the parent interacting and connecting with the child that helps the child learn the Bible lesson.
So, what’s your opinion. Where do you stand when it comes to coloring pages?
I’ll leave you with a quote from my mama: “My boys hated coloring sheets and always wanted to create their own works.” Consistently on my thread, I found it seems that boys tend to prefer blank paper and girls prefer coloring pages.