I know… all kids really need are some leftover scraps of paper and a pencil to “create,” but sometimes it’s fun to engage them with books that spark their imagination a bit. Here are some of my favorites coloring and drawing books–perfect for gift giving.
1. The Giant Play and Learn Book by Pascale Estellon. This colorful book has hours of playful activities that focus on letters, numbers, reading, writing, shapes, colors, sorting, counting, sequencing, matching, patterning, and grouping. There are also 250 stickers included. Some of the sticker pages encourage kids to decorate a dinner plate, create vegetable people, and match garden tools. Ages 3 and up.
2. Lots of things to find and color by Stella Bagott. This Usborne Activities book features mainly black and white drawings with instructions on each page to find something specific and color it in. For instance, on one page a child has to find the finished face in each row of monsters and color it in, and then, she can finish drawing the incomplete faces in the row. Some tasks are easier, like “color in all the spooky eyes” or “find all the striped fish and color them in.” There are maze, pattern, and matching activities as well. Perfect for a cartoon lover! Ages 4 and up.
3. Guido’s Great Coloring and Drawing Book by Guido van Genechten. I’m a big fan of Guido van Genechten’s books, so this book was extra special to delve into. The humorous drawing activities give kids opportunities to finish pictures, count, imagine, color, design, and study expressions. Some examples include, “add about 827 dots,” “make the tiniest drawing you have ever made,” “give this moose huge horns,” “draw the shark that is chasing this little fish,” “make this spiral as big as you can,” “we’re on Mars… draw the martians,” and much more. Ages 5 and up.
4. Let’s Make Some Great Art by Marion Deuchars. This book has more specific art concepts and introductory information about famous artists, but does so with a casual and entertaining approach. For instance, the section on Matisse’s cutouts has instructions on how to make a Matisse-inspired collage but then also features pages of Mattise cut out type shapes and asks the child to draw figures looking out of the “windows” or to turn the shapes into characters with arms and legs. Other artists presented in the book include Leonardo da Vinci (form, shading, upside-down drawing), Pablo Picasso (Cubism, African masks), Vincent Van Gogh (yellow ocher, color wheel), Magritte (Surrealism, dreams), and many more. There are also projects for younger children like fingerprint paintings, ink blots, collage, drawing with an eraser, and experimenting with lines. Ages 5 and up.
5. The Coloring Book by Hervé Tullet. Filled with big and bold lines, this book is filled with abstract shapes, curves, loops, superheroes, letters, patterns, flags, houses, and much more. Instructions on some pages ask the user to, “find and color in the word hello,” “draw colored circles around the black dots,” “color in what you like to eat,” and “what are the right colors for happy people… and for sad people?” Ages 3 and up.