Fast and furious developmental changes are par for the course with preschoolers, but Laurel really blew my doors off the other day when she started coloring within the lines.
I was fulfilling requests to draw ice cream cones on the Aquadoodle; after I drew a cone with sprinkles, Laurel grabbed the water pen and slowly started filling in all the blank spaces around the sprinkles, staying within the borders, until the entire scoop was colored in. I was both amazed and mildly concerned, given the bad rap that coloring within the lines can get. The psychologist in me couldn't help but wonder whether anyone has probed relations between coloring rigidity and personality traits.
The topic doesn’t appear to be keeping academics up at night, and the age at which kids learn to color within the lines seems to vary greatly. I myself don’t particularly believe that the specific ability to color within the lines is all that important given that fine motor control can be achieved by many types of play. But something that may be of interest to parents who are frustrated by the confines of coloring books is Susan Striker’s collection of creativity books (for ages 6 to 60!). In particular, her anti-coloring book series (click here for the first book in the series) has a long and devoted following.