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do you urge your children to "color in the lines"?

post #1 of 75
Thread Starter 

i don't, and they sure don't do it. but i see/hear other parents urging their kids to color in the lines, and color neatly all the time. my daughter is 5 and has never particularly liked coloring. she has no patience for it, and prefers to run around and socialize. my son is only 2 so this hasn't come up yet. 

 

but is there a real virtue to coloring neatly / in the lines? just curious. thanks for your opinions.

post #2 of 75

Nope.

 

But then, I was never known for coloring inside the lines, either.

 

 

post #3 of 75

I work as a substitute teacher's aid in the public school system.  The teachers often encourage Kindergartners to color in the lines to help with their fine motor skills.  I think there is some virtue in this, especially if you have a child who hates printing but will practice fine motor skills by coloring.  OTOH, I never bother my kids about this at home.  They get enough directives at school.  And drawing and coloring your own picture is clearly superior practice on many fronts, as it helps fine motor skills and encourages creativity and visual perception.  I tell my 7 year old to color "the way the teacher asks him to" (in the lines and all in one direction) at school and however he likes at home.

post #4 of 75

No, no, and no.  Except for following directions which they'll have plenty of opportunities for.  We don't buy coloring books normally, just plain paper and lots of crayons and pencils (coloring books come as gifts and are enjoyed but soon forgotten after the best pictures are colored).  My oldest draws from the inside out!  She used to never draw outlines first.

 

I would be quick to tell my girls (quite loudly of course) that they could color it however they wanted to.  "Oh, what a nice rainbow face, dear!  How CREATIVE!"  I was naturally a stay-in-the lines colorer as a kid, so sometimes it comes from inside them.  Now, I just have no patience for teaching staying-in-the-lines, both literally and figuratively, so I better go before I say something that gets me in trouble!

post #5 of 75

Staying in the lines probably helps develop fine motor skills or hand-eye coordination, but so does drawing a picture or printing. I think some parents just want their kids colouring to look 'right'. I don't think there's anything wrong with encouraging a kid to do their best, but there's a line between that & nit-picking.

 

My mom has a story of when she was helping in my sisters kindergarten class. They were supposed to colour the shapes in neatly, and then cut them out. My sister didn't even try to stay in the lines, just scribbled all over. Mom asked her why she wasn't staying in the lines and her response was that it wasn't important because she was going to cut the shapes out anyway... mom thought she was pretty smart for realizing this.

post #6 of 75

Nope I sure don't.  My 6 yr old just this year has started coloring in the lines.  My 4 yr old is not particularly good at it.  And my 3 yr old is ok at it.  I've been kind of peeved at the insistance of my 3 yr old's school constantly drilling coloring in the lines. 

post #7 of 75

No.

 

It's supposed to be good for fine motor skills, but it wasn't worth the effort to me. Ds never cared to color at all, and dd eventually decided on her own that she wanted to color in the lines. There are a lot of other fun things you can do for fine motor skills.

post #8 of 75

Nah.  How annoying would it be for some big person to be standing over your shoulder all "colour in the lines!  In the lines!!!"

 

They'll get enough colouring instruction in kindy, imo.


Edited by pianojazzgirl - 10/29/11 at 6:28am
post #9 of 75

We had a problem in Kinder with DD1.  She was so mad that she was told she had to color in the lines.  They called it scribble scrabble if she didn't color in the lines.  I come from a highly artistic family everyone paints or draws or creates some sort of art.  And so I conferred with my mom and she said to tell her that scribble scrabble was art.  DD1 went back to school and showed her teacher should could color in the lines but preferred not to and told her her grandma said scribble scrabble was art and so... her teacher never told her again to color in the lines.  Then again she hates coloring books she'd rather draw her pictures. 

post #10 of 75

I never taught or encouraged my dd to color in the lines.  She had some coloring books she got because she wanted the stickers inside and liked the character on the outside, but she rarely used them because she preferred to draw and color her own pictures.  When she came home talking about the teachers telling her she needed to color in the lines I taught her to tell them it is art at first, but when it became clear that they weren't accepting this answer and that she was paying for my dislike of coloring sheets by getting in trouble at school for not following directions I encouraged her to stay in the lines at school and to do free art at home.  I explained that teachers sometimes have other reasons for wanting kids to do things a certain way and that even though it was a ridiculous requirement she still needed to follow directions at school.

post #11 of 75

Not until she started school.  At this point, coloring in the lines is good for her on a lot of fronts - she needs to learn to slow down and practice patience and coloring (AND WRITING) deliberately, she needs work on fine motor skills, and she needs to learn to follow directions.  Her usual thing is to do as little as possible, as fast as possible and move on to the next thing.  She can be really lazy about a lot of things and I don't think "finish what you start" and "at least try to do a good job" are bad lessons.  She tends to approach most things this way and it's a problem. 

 

She doesn't really color at home, she draws, but when classwork comes home unfinished I get her to finish it and I make her slow down,do a good job, and do all of it.

post #12 of 75

I don't make my kids color in the lines when they are really little either.  But, once they are adept with a crayon, and just scribble because they don't feel like coloring and are just being lazy or having an attitude...THEN I say something.  I don't think being snotty or wasteful is okay.  We mostly draw, too, though.  (But even then, I make...especially ds (4) lately...go back and do another picture.  He just grabs a crayon, scribbles a bunch and says he's done.  He doesn't want to try because dd (6.5) can draw so much better.  So, I do send him to make a "real picture".  I never comment on how it turns out, just exclaim over what a great idea he's had.)  And, I don't tell them how wonderful it was when it was obviously their lazy work either.  That wouldn't be honest, and it would be praising false effort.

post #13 of 75
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NiteNicole View Post

Not until she started school.  At this point, coloring in the lines is good for her on a lot of fronts - she needs to learn to slow down and practice patience and coloring (AND WRITING) deliberately, she needs work on fine motor skills, and she needs to learn to follow directions.  Her usual thing is to do as little as possible, as fast as possible and move on to the next thing.  She can be really lazy about a lot of things and I don't think "finish what you start" and "at least try to do a good job" are bad lessons.  She tends to approach most things this way and it's a problem. 

 

She doesn't really color at home, she draws, but when classwork comes home unfinished I get her to finish it and I make her slow down,do a good job, and do all of it.



this describes my daughter very well, too. she just reached 5 and a half. how old is yours?

post #14 of 75

I don't think coloring outside the lines makes them lazy.   Being told how to be creative is the pits!

post #15 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by tropicana View Post



this describes my daughter very well, too. she just reached 5 and a half. how old is yours?



Same.  She does not care at all about doing a good job, she wants to do as little as she can get away with so she can move on.  This?  Is not how I want her to go through school.

 

Coloring in the lines means she has to slow down and take her time.  We only do this on school work that comes home unfinished.  We have tons of art supplies (and random things that become art supplies) and I don't care what she does with that.  She has an uncle who is a painter and a mom who spent a lot of time in art history classes.  We talk about different kinds of art and look at all kinds of things.  What she does with her art supplies at home is her business and I like seeing what she comes up with (right now she's writing books and trying various ways to illustrate and it's awesome).

 

Coloring from school is not about creativity (or at least the things that are sent home for her to finish) - it's about following directions, developing motor skills, being mindful of what you're doing, and finishing things within a set time.  It's like saying that expecting her to write her letters correctly  in her homework is stifling her creativity (when she writes her stories, I don't nag about handwriting and spelling because if she has to use only words she knows she can spell correctly, she will forget what she's doing while she's trying to figure out spelling.  We're working on the idea of writing first, deciding how to correctly spell things, and writing carefully so people can read it but I love her stories and don't want to make writing them not fun so it's a slow process.  Also, the kooky spelling and up hill writing is kind of charming and I'll miss it when she's older, I'm sure).  It's not the same at all. 

 

Scribbling doesn't MAKE her lazy, but never expecting her to do a good job might.

post #16 of 75

Nope. I'm all for people coloring however they want.

post #17 of 75

I'm pretty concerned about my kids scribble scrabble making them lazy... no, not so much.  I was a scribble scrabbler and I'm far from lazy.   What is so dang important about coloring in the lines?  Someone said it's important?  I can't imagine how important it is.  It's coloring!  You color all sloppy but you stay inside the lines.  Really? 

post #18 of 75

Well...I've explained why I think it's important and why her teacher thinks it's important twice already.  Motor skills, following directions, finishing a task in the time allowed.  I guess that's three times now.

 

 

post #19 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by tropicana View Post

 

but is there a real virtue to coloring neatly / in the lines? just curious. thanks for your opinions.


PP identified the usual purpose in colouring between the lines, It's to develop fine motor skill and a good pre-writing exercise in controlling penmanship (or crayon-ship, if you will),

 

If a child doesn't enjoy colouring, perhaps other pre-writing exercises like drawing a path through a maze or tracing drawings will appeal. Of course, these activities are probably subject to the same criticism that they are anti-creative, but people don't seem to find them to be the same kind of soul-crushing, creativity-stifling tortures dreamed up by the devil as colouring-between-the-lines.  

 

Yeah, my kids got colouring books and enjoyed using them. They also did a lot of other creative, artsy stuff, and still do. They both attended a performing arts school for high school. I don't think colouring between the lines as kids throttled the creativity out of them. 

 

 

post #20 of 75

I can see why it  is important to the school system whose main objective is to create law abiding citizens and good heirarchy obeying workers, but I am not the right person to teach this lesson.  I do not follow instructions in my life as an adult (didn't as a child either) and if I think I have a better way of doing something, I will always try that first.  I sort of want my kid to do the same, not just in coloring, but in math, science, writing, analysis, sports...you name it.  No one who changed the world ever did so by following the "rules".  Well, not that I know of, anyway.

 

When I was a kid I used to color in my pictures at school with my own stuff.  If I went out of the lines, I made it a part of the picture.  If it was a picture of a bunny, I would also paint a green field and a sun and a rainbow and a basket of carrots, maybe some other bunnies, or , or maybe that bunny morphed into an alien with bunny ears, five arms and a ray gun shaped like a carrot, depending on my mood that day.  I got a lot of frowning from my teachers until my mom told them to back off.  I think learning to follow the rules should ALWAYS come AFTER you learn how to exploit your creative genius.  Brainstorm first, organize later.  I am a language arts teacher and this methodology has served my students exceedingly well.  I know there are those with the reverse philosophy...I just happen to think they are wrong and have gone to battle over this with teachers before and would again. 

 

Plus the age at which they expect most kids to color in the lines PERFECTLY is not age appropriate.  Some will be able to do this by the age of three, and some will not be able to do this EVER.  Some people have a frenetic way of visualizing the world, and the world takes all types.  We need rule followers, and rule breakers, those who complete the job and those who design the job.  Every child should be celebrated for who they are as individuals, because every talent is needed in this world and every gift should be recognized, fostered and exploited (in a good way) for the benefit of society.   

 

Time management and  deadline management can be taught other ways, as well as fulfilling others' expectations. Furthermore, there are many less demoralizing ways to develop the skills they will need to tie shoes, sew a button, write a letter or whatever else fine motor skills are needed for these days.  To be perfectly honest, the way things are going I doubt very highly that any child born after the year 2010 will ever need to write letters of their own at all in higher education.  Most assessments are moving away from paper based exams and a lot of schools, at least in the international school circuit are committed to being virtually paper free by the year 2020.  Not that I agree with that, I'm just saying the syllabus is antiquated for the real learner needs of the students.  Having great penmanship used to be a horrible debilitation for citizens of this world.  The computer age has resolved that issue and it no longer is a factor in life.  You don't need it to be hireable or acceptable anymore.  My students in grade 10  this year will likely be the last IB students to sit for handwritten exams.  Even forms are almost all electronically filled in these days. Having crazy handwriting just isn't a  big deal anymore.  With the progressive move towards criteria based learning in education, it isn't going to be such a struggle for kids to find their own ways to skin the proverbial cats in their lives. 

 

So...I get why a primary school teacher, escpecially ones who has been teaching for twenty odd years in the system, thinks this is a vital part of their syllabus, but I think they are  being incredibly short sighted and would definitely go to the mat over the issue if I felt the comments were belittling his efforts, or diminishing his self-esteem or love for learning.

 

That being said we all have different goals for our kids, and I totally respect that. thumb.gif  Coloring in the lines just doesn't meet any of MY objectives, but I can see how it might for others.

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