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The Science Behind Mindful Coloring

At the Play to Grow studio there are many details that have intentionally been put in place to ensure the very best experience for every family that walks through our doors. One of our students' favorites are our coloring pages. These pages have offered an activity for campers who need a break, students who arrive early for class, and moms eager for a few moments of quiet reflection while their children play.

You've most certainly seen "adult coloring books" at your favorite craft store, the checkout line at the grocery store, and of course during your late night Amazon sprees. But is there any science behind it?

More than just a way to keep kids busy, coloring is an excellent activity for focusing our mind. Much like meditation, coloring enables us to tune in to the present moment. When coloring abstract patterns, our mind doesn't have the associations we might have with say, an image of a landscape or a vase of flowers. We are able to focus our attention in a non-judgemental way on the lines and colors before us.

Coloring can also help to calm our nervous system. There are scientific studies that have shown that the repetitive motions in activities like coloring, knitting, or other crafts can help to regulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps us to remain calm.

Our mindful coloring pages also allow kids (and adults) to express creativity in a safe and comfortable way. If I provided all of the student in my class with a picture of a barn and some animals, they'd likely make the barn red or brown, the cow black and white, the pig pink...In the end all the pictures would look fairly similar.

Alternatively, if I provided them with a blank piece of paper, many students would jump in and start drawing, but a number would sit there stumped, decide they didn't have ideas or weren't good at drawing, and would end up frustrated at their lack of creativity. We are all inherently creative and mindful coloring pages provide a great opportunity for kids and adults to express that creativity by the patterns they create and the colors they choose.

Finally, coloring is an awesome way to build fine motor and visual motor skills! In today's world, most of us, children and adults, are spending SO much time on screens. Coloring gives us on opportunity to maintain these vital skills.

If coloring isn't your thing, no worries! The same positive effects can be gleaned from other crafts and hobbies such as knitting, quilting, woodworking...Tell us your favorite craft activities in the comments!

P.S. Want to save a few bucks? No need to buy a mindful coloring book. We've got some free printable mindful coloring pages for you right here!

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Hey! I'm Christine.

I'm the founder of Play to Grow, a children's yoga studio in Gaithersburg, Maryland. As a pediatric physical therapist and mom, I am passionate about helping children and their families live a life full of movement, mindfulness, and creativity.

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