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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

30 Models Considered
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Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for Best coloring books for kids

Learning how to color can benefit your child in numerous ways. It helps develop fine motor skills as well as hand-eye coordination. It allows children to express themselves creatively while learning about shapes and color shades. It can even serve as a diagnostic tool that gives parents an early warning for conditions such as color blindness.

If you want your child to truly fall in love with coloring, it is important to get the right coloring book. While many parents think it’s enough to purchase a coloring book with an appealing theme, such as superheroes or princesses, that barely scratches the surface. Paper quality, drawing style, and seemingly inconsequential details such as perforation and bookbinding can make or break your child’s affection for their new coloring book.

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As long as you have a coloring book and a box of crayons, coloring is one of those rare activities that can be done anywhere, either alone, with a friend, or in a group.

Key considerations

Paper quality

If you've ever purchased a coloring book at a dollar store, you've likely noticed that the paper easily tears. Even if it doesn't rip, it is so thin that you can usually only color on one side. If you want your child to get creative and use markers or watercolors, cheap paper will not suffice. Paying a few extra dollars for a coloring book with thick, durable paper can make a big difference in how much use the book gets.

Coloring areas

The “coloring areas” in a coloring book may be large, tiny, or somewhere in between. If the book is for a younger child, tiny coloring areas could lead to frustration. At the very least, you want shapes that are large enough for a crayon point to fit.

Drawing style

Believe it or not, the drawing style can be a big turn-off for a child. A picture with thin, wispy lines makes it nearly impossible for even an adult to stay within the lines. Look for a coloring book with thick, bold strokes if you want something more straightforward.

Theme

If your child loves dinosaurs and you purchase a puppy dog coloring book, they may not be satisfied. Fortunately, there is such a wide range of coloring books available that you should be able to find something tailored to your child's interests, no matter what they may be.

A coloring book can be an educational tool. Your child can look at the picture and identify shapes, count items, create a story, and more.

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Features

Page size

If you want a coloring book that travels well, choose something small that is easy to bring along. In all other instances, it's best to stick with books that have full-size pages (8.5 x 11 inches) or larger. This goes back to coloring shape size consideration; if the overall dimensions of the coloring book are small, the coloring shapes are likely to be small as well. 

Oversized coloring books are great for the child who likes to spread out on a table or floor. These larger books can be fun for groups of children to collaborate on as well.

Number of pages

If a coloring book with more pages seems like a better value, go for it. The important thing to remember is not to sacrifice paper quality for a higher page count. Also, if you purchase a coloring book with a large number of pages, you may not be able to open the book all the way so those pages lie flat. This could make coloring difficult.

Binding

One way around the previously noted flat-page problem is to purchase a spiral bound coloring book. These may be rare and a little more expensive, but they are worth it.

A second workaround for books that do not lie flat when open is perforated pages. The idea is to tear the pages out before you color them, not after.

Educational elements

Some coloring books are layered with built-in educational value. For example, a coloring book might focus on counting, identifying shapes, or naming animals.

If your child knows how to read, consider purchasing a coloring book that doubles as a storybook. These books may only have one short line of text on each page, but they have an extra dimension that helps keep children engaged.

If your child likes dot-to-dot, crossword puzzles, or similar activities, purchasing a coloring book that includes these types of activities is a wise decision.

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DID YOU KNOW?
When adults color, it can reduce stress and anxiety, which may lower blood pressure. These are just a few reasons why coloring is the perfect activity to do with your child.
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Accessories

A coloring book is only of use if you have something to color with. Following are a few quick options for coloring tools.

Crayons: Crayola Ultimate Crayon Collection 
This expansive crayon collection gives kids over the age of three everything they need for a successful coloring venture: 152 crayons (including metallic and glitter), a storage case, and a crayon sharpener.

Colored pencils: Crayola Colored Pencils
This set of 12 nontoxic pre-sharpened colored pencils is manufactured with reforested wood. The set includes red, red-orange, orange, yellow, yellow-green, green, sky blue, blue, purple, black, brown, and white.

Markers: Crayola Washable Broad Line Markers 
This box contains 40 Crayola ultra-clean markers that are safe, non-toxic, and recommended for children ages three and up. The markers wash clean from skin, clothing, and most painted walls.

If your child is a little older, they may want to use safety scissors to cut out an item or figure in a picture that they colored.

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Coloring books for kids prices

Inexpensive: Be careful when purchasing coloring books that cost less than $5 because they may be manufactured using inferior paper, such as newsprint. If a coloring page tears easily or bleeds through, it will not offer the best coloring experience for your child.
 
Mid-range: A quality coloring book with durable pages may fall in the $5 to $10 range. If you want to spend a little more for even thicker paper or perforated pages, expect to spend closer to $15

High-end: If you want an all-in-one kit, something that comes with its own box of crayons, you will likely be looking at $20 and above.

Tips

When a child uses a coloring book, he or she is expressing themselves in a pure and natural way that should have no boundaries or restrictions. That said, coloring is a skill that involves staying in the lines and selecting the "right" colors. While helping forge artistic sensibilities is beyond the scope of this article, we can offer a few tips on skill development.

  • Shy away from perfection. Perfection is an unattainable goal. While pride can be the result of a job well done, the joy of coloring should be in the doing.
  • Position is critical. If a child isn't sitting in a position that allows for unrestricted movement of the arm and hand, the act of coloring will be more complicated than necessary.
  • Strengthen the hands. If your child is having trouble holding a crayon, give them Play-Doh or a stress ball to squeeze so they can develop stronger hand muscles.
  • Develop hand-eye coordination. If your child is getting frustrated, try other activities that will help develop hand-eye coordination. This can be anything from playing catch to doing puzzles.
  • Use images with thick borders. The thicker the lines, the easier it will be for your child to stay within their boundaries.
  • Color together. There is nothing a child wants more than to have that special time with a parent. Set aside some time so you can color, too.
  • Show genuine interest and offer praise. When your child shows you their work, stop what you are doing, and give them some attention. The reward of receiving praise for a job well done can help a child learn to push themselves to achieve.
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A coloring book is an excellent way to keep screen time to a minimum on those inclement days when playing outside is not an option.

FAQ

Q. At what age can my child start coloring?

A. Some say you should start as soon as your child can hold a chunky crayon without trying to eat it. For children younger than 18 months, the activity will most likely be scribbling, which is still beneficial to a child's development. By the time your child is three years old, they should have sufficient strength and fine motor skills to hold a crayon and color.

Q. At what age will my child learn colors?

A. When a child is around 18 months old, they typically begin to grasp the concept of color. At this age, it is important to start pointing out that the sky is blue and the flower is red. However, it will likely be a year or more of doing this before it clicks and your child can actually name colors. In fact, by age three, most children can only name one color. Don't rush it; just reinforce color recognition. By age four, if you are patient and diligent, your child may recognize three to six colors. As with coloring, though, every child is different: some learn colors faster than others, and that’s okay.

Q. In what ways can coloring benefit my child?

A. One of the most important ways that coloring can benefit a child is by teaching focus. Focus is the key that lets an individual see a task through from beginning to end. Without focus, success can be extremely difficult to achieve at any stage of life. Coloring helps develop the strength and fine motor skills needed for writing and typing. It can help stimulate creativity, promote relaxation, and provide an emotional outlet for things that a child cannot adequately express in other ways.

 

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