Just recently, I found myself telling my son to be careful while working on one of his school projects. “Stay inside the lines,” was one of my instructions. While he happily replied, “Yes, mommy!” and continued on his merry way, this launched an entire debate in my head.
Is it really that important for my children to color in the lines? After all, the purpose is for them to merely identify the colors and use the appropriate one when asked. Do I really need to plague them with more restrictions or should I allow them to be creative and color as they please? I think the answer is yes… to both!
There are some very valid arguments for having our children color inside the lines:
- Hand/Eye Coordination
- Developing Dexterity
- Adherence to Instruction
When our children are focused on coloring in the lines, they are developing some important skills. They are strengthening their coordination and hand muscles which will assist them with other accomplishments in the future. They are being trained in neatness and patience; not all of life can be chaotic and rushed through.
On the flip side, there is also a solid point for ignoring those pesky lines… creativity! Without all those frustrating lines in the way, we are able to express ourselves through the medium of art. We can tap into the imagination and be free to explore a world of color.
Perhaps both are important! During our learning day, part of my job is to give instruction and help our children develop those important life skills, such as coordination and dexterity. However, when at all possible, I should also encourage my children to be comfortable with the exploration of art.
Like most other things in life, there is a time and a place for everything; art is no exception. So our children can feel free to be as creative as they’d like, with the understanding that sometimes mommy is going to make them stay in those silly little lines.
What can I say? I like to torture my kids!
Chime In!: What’s your take; inside, outside, or no lines at all?