Mindfulness Markers

Posted on February 17, 2007. Filed under: Children's Literature, Homeschooling, Web Resources |

On to some of the most disposable books in the world of kid lit: coloring books. And yet–what an incredible experience to sit quietly with a child and simply color a page. Though, okay, we have days where coloring is an olympic event with elements of both snowboarding and javelin throwing involved, more and more often, coloring is becoming an exercise in mindfulness for both of us.

I wouldn’t natively have used the term “mindfulness” for our marker sessions until I talked to a therapist friend and asked if he knew anything about coloring as therapy–he noted that he’d seen it used as a mindfulness technique and I think it fits. If mindfulness is about bringing ourselves more completely to the present moment, then coloring has certainly done that for us. When my daughter colors she’s absorbed in it as a project–sometimes so deeply that she fills the whole image with a single hue. For me, it’s become a lovely way to center my energies on a task: finding the right color, filling the shape with the chosen color, smoothing out the texture into a more uniform matte or inventing some texture for contrast.

To find some coloring books that might hold my attention as well as hers, I did some digging and found a lot more resources than I anticipated. Dover and Bellerophon are the two biggest publishers, but the Running Press series, many of which are now out of print, are truly beautiful books–and sturdy! I’ve included some coloring-pages sites, though many of them are extremely ad heavy. We use DLTK a lot, in large part because it offers a quick ad-free printing option. The coloring pages on Wendy Wallace’s site all arrive as one gigantic download–over 1600 pages. The list of coloring books by government agencies is well worth exploring, if only for the giggles. The Coloring Addict list and the Wildflowers list I think are useful, as each of them pick up titles I hadn’t seen noted elsewhere. Right now, however, I’m thrilled that my Googling this evening led me to Jan Brett’s coloring pages. I’m a longtime fan and am delighted by the range of coloring pages she’s made available.

Dover Publications
http://store.doverpublications.com/by-subject-children-coloring-books.html

Bellerophon Books
http://www.bellerophonbooks.com/shopsys/

Running Press Coloring Books:
http://www.perseusbooksgroup.com/runningpress/collection.do?path=/runningpress/collections/startexploring.jsp

Coloring pages at intuitive counselor Wendy Wallace’s website:
http://www.ifyoucouldknow.com/coloring.htm

Coloring Book Fun (free coloring pages)
http://www.coloringbookfun.com/

DLTK’s Coloring Pages
http://www.dltk-kids.com/coloring.htm

Coloring books and pages from various government agencies:
http://www.evergreen.edu/library/govdocs/coloringbooks.html

Coloring Addict’s Essential Coloring Books
http://www.citilink.com/~mhauf/calist.html

Celebrating Wildflowers coloring books
http://www.nps.gov/plants/color/index.htm

Jan Brett’s Free Coloring Pages
http://www.janbrett.com/activities_pages_artwork.htm

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2 Responses to “Mindfulness Markers”

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My three kids are keen on coloring books as well (and good quality colored pencils, too). When my eldest, now 9, was 6 and we were studying ancient history, I found the Running Press Greek mythology coloring book, which was a big favorite. Also had a big pullout poster to color, if I remember correctly.

We’re visiting my parents at the moment, and one thing I always make sure to bring, for the four days (and four planes) there and back, several coloring books for each child.


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