Color With Me
Color With Me is on Wednesdays from 3:00-4:30 pm.
This is an after school program where kids can come in and color and learn to cope with stress from a long day at school or home. Coloring books will be set at the table and you are free to color.
Benefits of coloring for kids with anxiety or special needs:
- Reduces anxiety, stress and depression.
- Provides a break from video games and electronic devices.
- Focuses thoughts in a mindful-based practice.
- Encourages a quiet, meditative time.
- Improves fine motor skills which helps children with printing and cursive writing.
Coloring as a form of art therapy:
- Coloring allows children to express themselves. It is an outlet for emotions and a soothing way for them to release energy.
- Coloring is accessible for all children, regardless of ability or age. It can be easily adapted for children with special needs.
- Coloring empowers children by giving them the chance to color and create something new…the process results in a product that they can share with pride.
- Coloring is a form of play…and today’s children often don’t play enough…for older children, especially, coloring reminds them of their younger childhood days, eliciting feelings of being carefree.
Ways to Make Coloring Calming for Kids
Set the Intention.
Like all mindfulness-based practices, set the intention to color with the child, explaining that coloring can help them self-soothe.
You might say, “I see that you are worried about your math test. Why don’t we take a coloring break?”
When the child is finished coloring ask how the activity made them feel…get them to reflect on the experience and observe, “Since you just found that coloring made you feel happier and more relaxed, let’s remember to try it again when you are feeling anxious or worried.”
Adapting Coloring for All Abilities:
For little ones:
Crayons and markers provide the most independence, since they don’t need sharpening.
Select an assortment of coloring books with large images and fewer details.
For children with special needs:
Coloring can be challenging for children who struggle with grip and fine motor skills.
Here are some simple ways to make coloring easier for children with special needs.
- Try Jumbo Crayons (Crayola), GiBot Finger Crayons (non-stick, non-toxic and safe if injested—with a hole that makes them safe if accidentally swallowed.)
- Occupational therapists recommend using Coban Self-Adhesive Wrap (available at drug stores) to wrap around crayons, pencils and markers to make them easier to grip.
- Try pencil grips like The Writing Claw which make it easier for a child to use a crayon, marker or pencil.
- Visit The Pencil Grip company’s online store for great sensory products for coloring and learning.
- Use a clip board to help hold the coloring book or page steady.
- If you’d like to add more sensory input consider scented crayons or markers or diffusing essential oil while your child colors.
- Children with autism spectrum disorders may be overwhelmed by too many coloring choices. You may want to limit the options to make their self-selection of colors/mediums easier.
- Be open to children’s choices. One of my students with autism happily colored everything red, all the time, for the entire year.
For children who worry about broken crayons or coloring outside the lines:
Broken crayons may be upsetting for some children on the autism spectrum or those with low-frustration tolerance.
Using thicker crayons or markers may help.
Show them that broken crayons still color….getting them to hold an oddly shaped crayon may initially be a challenge, but with time they may adjust.
Talk about it…explain that coloring is a form of art…they can choose to stay in the lines or go beyond the lines to make the picture their own masterpiece.
Selecting larger, more simple and less detailed coloring pages is often less stressful for young children, children with special needs or those who are anxious. (Highly detailed pages with intricate designs can cause children stress…they can be too much visual sensory overload and become overwhelming to color.)
If your child becomes frustrated, stop the activity.
Activities like knitting or jewelry making are also repetitive and soothing. If these don’t work for your child consider more physical rhythmic activities like rocking, swinging or hula-hooping.
Taking a coloring book and crayons can be a lifesaver for doctor’s offices, restaurants and other places where your child might be anxious or have a hard time waiting.
We wish you and your child a blessed and colorful new year!
Registration is required.
Any questions feel free to contact Miss Erica at 3046272236 ext 114.