I confess. I am an addict. I love crayons. I’ve loved crayons since I was a young child. Christmas morning, 1974, it wasn’t the Barbie Dream House or the baby doll that pooped that got my heart racing. It was the box of 64 Crayola crayons with the built-in sharpener. Do you remember? Oh, it had so many colors to pick; magenta, sky blue, blue-green, and even gold and silver! Ah, be still my heart…crayons. And I tend to be a bit of a crayon snob; I like a crayon with more pigment and less wax which tends to be a gateway to oil pastels.
During out period of stay-at-home, it’s the perfect time to pull out a box of crayons and exercise some constructivism with remote learning. While coloring books are great, it is a wonderful practice to have plain paper and just randomly draw from the brain. In younger children it promotes fine motor skills and exercises the fingers; in fact, it helps develop muscles used for writing and pre-literacy. In older children it jump starts creativity by having them visualize what they are drawing or by telling a story in picture form. Use the crayons to promote language and storytelling. Ask your youngster how each color makes them feel and let them make up scenarios about what the crayons might be doing.
Here’s a fun activity for the whole family: put out a box of crayons. Watch the process as children and adults choose their crayon. There’s emotional decision making that goes on. Why? Because colors make us “feel”. Color is attached to adjectives such as warm, cool, cozy, peaceful and powerful. There is a whole psychology to color and what it does for us. Make a game of it and ask each person to put colors together that feel the same to them. If you have older adolescents, let them evaluate the groupings of crayons and discuss why they think the colors go together.
Ok, more confessions. When my children were young and we would go to restaurants if they had crayons on the table, I usually took them to have in my purse (for the kids, of course!) Well, maybe that’s not true. I’ve been known to be sitting at the courthouse awaiting jury duty coloring scraps of paper and gum wrappers from my purse. The truth is, coloring can be therapeutic. It can help dispel anxiety. Exploring textures and value is working creative muscles and allowing logic to relax. Learning to calm ourselves is a valuable skill, especially right now with so much uncertainty.
Today, I feel a little canary yellow with an outline of aqua blue. Translation: my outlook is hopeful and bright. What color do you feel? Keep coloring and keep calm!