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Sibling Down Time: Coloring

Johnny and Emma color together

My kids usually get along, but they have their days where sharing toys is difficult. Coloring together is a nice change of pace for days when they are stuck in the house together but don’t feel like playing. It’s also a nice ice breaker for shy friends at play dates. It’s slightly less peaceful when Lily isn’t napping, since when she gets bored she has a habit of spicing things up by adding artistic touches to the other kids’ pages…

And I LOVE the flip-top Crayola markers they are using, but Crayola doesn’t seem to make them any more. Has anybody seen them? For me, the extra cost of having caps that stay on is well worth not worrying about choking hazard caps ending up on the floor – not to mention the long life of the markers!

Cost-benefit analysis:

  • Prep: less than one minute
  • Initial entertainment: at least 15 minutes; much longer if they move on to drawing
  • Clean-up: less than one minute (up to 5 if Lily is out and starts throwing crayons)
  • Lasting value: Calmer children (and the development of patience, tolerance, and negotiation for Emma and Johnny and boundaries for Lily if Lily goes into mischief mode)

MaryAnne lives is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

18 thoughts on “Sibling Down Time: Coloring”

  1. E has just begun to get into coloring, she’s always been more into drawing on her own and making lots and lots of scribbles. Until recently it’s been too frustrating for her to stay in the lines and just like mommy she’s a perfectionist and doesn’t like it when she can’t do something perfect. She’d rather not try at all. I tell her not to worry about the lines but the seem to stress her out.

  2. Forgot this–love that little fuzzy suit Johnny has on, and, in your snow post, are Lily’s little toenails painted–love that?!

  3. Yes, we like coloring here too and also have a little budding artist that loves to add his own artistic touches, as you called them, to the other kids’ pages:-).

  4. We had those flip top markers, but they didn’t seem to last very long. The markers dried out fast. Maybe that’s why they stopped making them?

  5. This is one of my son’s favorite activities! It also gives me an excuse to do something calming…to join in. I also like your list of safe activities too.

  6. I LOVE coloring with my kids! It’s so relaxing! I love how you said Lily likes to spice things up a bit with her siblings’ drawings.

  7. @Valerie – I guess I’ll have to look into the cap-free version – sounds interesting.

    And yes, coloring is MAGICAL.

  8. Coloring can be so very calming. I wish daughter was more interested in it, but now she likes to color things that she can later cut and use with her paper dolls.

  9. Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog

    I think Crayola may have switched to cap-free markers?? I bought them awhile back for a birthday gift, but haven’t seen the flip-tops in a long time.

    We are BIG fans of coloring/drawing here too. Amazing what it does for the kids moods, isn’t it?

  10. Elisa | blissfulE

    “…adding artistic touches to the other kids’ pages…” I’m laughing because this is so true! We definitely go into colouring mode when kiddos are feeling out of sorts around here.

  11. My kids loves coloring and markers, in fact, I keep notebooks and markers in my bag for when we are out. they will sit quietly anywhere if I let them draw. They usually end up as colored as their pages , but hey, that’s what tubs are for, right??

  12. I still can’t believe that you can trust your kids with markers. It would be all over the place in my house- including all over the children. Our kids must be really different. Good luck finding those!

  13. i have mixed results with coloring books but allmy kids love to draw. I haven’t seen those recently either

  14. We love the flip top markers too. I put them on a large carabeener (sp?) clip thing. We leave ours in the to go bag with a pad and some stickers.

    I haven’t seen them recently in stores. If I do, I’ll let you know where.

    1. @mama king – Great idea with the clip!

      @erica – Lily is more like your kids, as our kitchen chairs will testify… These markers are super washable, luckily!

      @sarah – I try to keep crayons in my bag, but washable markers would be a fun treat!

  15. I LOVE coloring!!! I even have my own box of crayons to use when I color with the girls!

    To solve the cap problem, hubby made a marker holder. We took a 2×4 and drilled holes the size of the caps and then glued them in. I then marked the bottom of the markers with the color of the caps so that they can still put them away in the correct colored lid. No more missing lids!

    1. @Jennifer – your cap holder is brilliant! Definitely something to make for my kiddos, thanks for the suggestion!

      And isn’t there something about coloring that is just so peaceful? I like to color too!

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