Coloring Books Aren’t Just for Kids (+ 4 Other Ways to Fight the Boredom Bug)
Sometimes I think being a stay-at-home is boring. Don’t get me wrong, I never run out of things to do. Most days the only time I sit down is to read to kids on the couch or at my computer while I write during nap time.
It’s more like, sometimes I just get bored with the same ‘ol things, day after day.
Laundry. Dishes. Reminding kids to go to the bathroom. Refereeing arguments. Comforting hurt feelings. Playing house (the kind where I get to be the mommy. how exciting! ;)). Preparing food and cleaning up afterwards (why do people need to eat so often?!). Pushing kids on swings. Reading the same 5 Curious George books for the past 3 months.
I used to feel kinda bad about this, but the other day I heard an older woman who is a leader in our church talk about how she also found being a stay-at-home boring until her kids were in elementary school. When I heard her say that, I gave an audible sigh of relief. I’m not alone in this feeling.
I love my kiddos a ton, and I want to have fun with them, so I decided to figure out how I can do something that’s fun for me while also connecting with them, doing things THEY really like too. How can I make this a win, win situation?
To this day, opening up a box of new crayons gives me a feeling of great pleasure. While I could color in my kids’ Hello Kitty and Care Bears coloring books and it be “fine”, I thought, why not get some really fun coloring books that I’d actually enjoy? So I did! Here are my favorites:
Outside the Lines: An Artists’ Coloring Book for Giant Imaginations, curated by Souris Hong-Porretta
This coloring book features the works of over 100 contemporary artists. Some pictures are strange, others are funny, but each picture is interesting in its own way. Especially for those who enjoy art, this is a great way to add your own fresh touches to others’ works. A few of the works are a bit edgy, so don’t store this one with your kids’ coloring books!
World Traveler Coloring Book by Thaneeya McArdle
Take a trip around the world! Coloring St. Basil’s Cathedral, the Taj Mahal, and the Temple of Heaven beats My Little Pony any day. As I color, I’m reminded of the many places and people of the world that I’ve seen and loved, and all of the places I hope to visit someday. Pair the coloring experience with some music from around the world and it nearly counts as a cross-cultural experience :).
Draw Paint Print like the Great Artists by Marion Denchars
While Outside the Lines covers contemporary artists, this book focuses on some of the great masters of all time- Matisse, Warhol, Miro, Dali. What’s interesting about this one is that the author shares some information about the artist, some of his or her techniques, and then we get to practice those techniques in an interesting way. For this book, I use more than just crayons. I break out the paints, pencils, and pastels too! The kids enjoy joining in on some of these projects as well. It’s a fun way to learn about artists and explore some of our artistic boundaries in a relaxed way.
Hipster Coloring Book by Thaneeya McArdle
Similar in style to the World Traveler coloring book (bold lines, fun designs), this book features all things “hipster”, which is awesome. I’d say most of the pictures border less on hipster and more on hippie, but other than that, it’s fun to color pictures of bicycles, typewriters and mustaches. For the artistically challenged, they also offer some great color combinations to try out with each picture.
Let’s Make Some Great Fingerprint Art by Marion Denchars
Okay, so this also isn’t a “coloring book” but more like a drawing/fingerprinting book :). This book teaches you how to use your fingerprints in interesting ways to make art. You’re challenged to create your favorite food, fonts, and flags while exploring various fingerprinting techniques. By the end, your kids will all have multi-colored finger tips!
2. Writing Notes
My Ada is a huge writer. Weirdly, she learned to write even when she was still struggling to get the whole reading thing. She loves to write people love notes, pen small picture books, and make lists. It so happens that I also enjoy doing these things, although not often enough.
So, when we’re getting the itch, we get out a stack of note cards, envelopes, gel pens, stickers, and get to note writing. It’s nice to share this love for letter writing with my littles!
3. Reading Magazines
I still haven’t really gotten to the point where the smaller kids happily let me read while they are around. Not 2 minutes after I’ve sat on the couch with my book, do I have a smiling toddler bring me a stack of Curious George books, batting her eyes and saying, “Read Momma?! Yes! Read!”
BUT, magazines are a different story. If I have a magazine I’d like to read, I get out some scissors, paper, glue sticks, and old magazines that I’ve already finished. I give them to Ada and Anaya, and they have a blast looking through the magazines, cutting and pasting, long enough for me to get through most of a magazine!
This one took me awhile to figure out. At first I tried to just get my scrapbooking stuff out, and have them do some other activity at the table with me while I worked on the books. Inevitably they would want to work on it with me, look through the pictures, ask a million questions, etc. Not much scrapbooking got done.
So, I gave them their own scrapbooking materials- doubles of some of the pictures I was scrapbooking, scrapbooking paper and stickers that I wasn’t probably going to use, fun scissors, and whatever else I was using at the time!
5. Learning Something New Together
I have a long list of things I’d like to learn, so why not figure out which of those overlap with interests of my children? Over the years, the kids and Jake and I have set out on several common learning adventures:
- Asante and I are learning all the countries of the world.
- Four of the six of us are (casually) starting to learn to play the keyboard.
- Aly and Jake like to learn languages together using online videos or DVDs.
- When the kids were small, we’d watch Signing Time and I’d love learning sign language right along with them.