Coloring Books? Really?

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There’s no denying it: adult coloring books are a thing. I may be the only person I know who doesn’t have one. At first I thought it was just another crazy gimmick, and I just waited for them to go away. Then I started seeing legit articles like this one published.  Then my friends started coloring. These are educated people with real life goals and everything, and there they were, just…..well….coloring.

What’s happening?

I can’t decide what I think about this phenomenon.

1,  On the one hand, it seems harmless and even maybe relaxing. On the other hand, don’t we spend a lot of time thinking and talking about teaching kids NOT to color inside the lines? Why are we doing the opposite for ourselves?

2. There is growing research on the importance of play for everyone–not just kids. Does coloring a pre-drawn picture count? Should play be something more generative and less prescriptive? I mean, I know you get to pick the color scheme and all, but it’s not like we’re creating anything new here.

3. Some people say it frees up the mind from the fatigue of decision making all day. Now that’s an interesting thought. Is that also what we do when we watch TV mindlessly or scroll through Facebook? And is that a good thing or a bad thing? Is there something inherently freeing about coloring that does not occur with those other activities?

4. Should you color outside the lines in an adult coloring  book? Does that negate the positive benefits or show that you have authority issues? I don’t know! And what does it say about me that I have such coloring angst?!

Simply put, I’m confused and conflicted over this whole coloring book issue. Maybe I’ll spend some time coloring and then get back to you. In the meantime, tell me what you think!

What does it say about me that I have such coloring book angst?

What does it say about me that I have such coloring book angst?

Kay Shurtleff

Kay Shurtleff

Although my day job is educational consultant for GT/Advanced Academics and ELAR, I also spend ridiculous amounts of down time drinking tea and reading, blogging, tweeting, and playing with language. Writing is a natural outlet, mode of thinking, form of entertainment, and illuminator for me. I'm working on a PhD in gifted education right now, and I appreciate having this forum in which to kick around ideas. Thanks for stopping by G/T-time!

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