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Best Coloring Books for Kids

Updated September 2022
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Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
Little Bee Books My First Big Book of Colouring
Little Bee Books
My First Big Book of Colouring
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Simple Yet Solid
Bottom Line

Between its easily identifiable images, cheery themes, and durable construction, this sizable book is easily the best way to introduce young kids to coloring.

Pros

Nearly 200 pages of artwork reminiscent of a children’s picture book. Chunky black outlines help to promote coloring within them. Huge variety of subjects, ranging from zoo animals to sailboats.

Cons

Sadly, pages are not perforated. Its illustrations are printed on both sides of each page.

Best Bang for the Buck
Crayola Epic Book of Awesome
Crayola
Epic Book of Awesome
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Best for Large Households
Bottom Line

Crayola’s mammoth coloring book sports a huge variety of scenes to please every kid, it’s easy to remove completed art for the fridge, and this is a great investment for hardcore coloring enthusiasts.

Pros

Affordable. 288 coloring pages. Enormous variety of coloring page themes, such as cats, sloths, dinosaurs, and unicorns. Includes glitter animal stickers. Perforated pages.

Cons

Since other drawing tools may bleed through the page, this is intended for crayons only.

Elizabeth James Sweet As Candy Colouring
Elizabeth James
Sweet As Candy Colouring
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Dessert Designs
Bottom Line

Ice cream, jelly beans, cupcakes, and a host of other sweet treats take center stage in this cute coloring book, and due to its clever design, artists should use whatever they want to color this sweet book.

Pros

64 pages of cheery dessert-themed illustrations. The back of each page is blank, so bleed-through is not a concern. Each page is packed with cakes, candies, and pastries to color.

Cons

While it’s nice to see one illustration per page, this is not a perforated coloring book.

Gallery Books Pusheen Coloring Book
Gallery Books
Pusheen Coloring Book
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Popular Character
Bottom Line

Whether she’s munching Halloween candy or playing in the garden, this delightful collection of coloring pages showcasing some of Pusheen’s favorite activities will win over her gigantic fan base.

Pros

94 adorable pages starring Pusheen the tabby cat. Sports a range of simple and more complex pages for a wider age range. Large variety, including seasonal and holiday themes.

Cons

Pages are not perforated. Illustrations are printed on both sides of each page.

Insight Editions Dinosaurs: A Coloring Book
Insight Editions
Dinosaurs: A Coloring Book
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For Science Fans
Bottom Line

With its stampeding styracosaurus, savage tyrannosaurus, and tons of other giant reptiles, this high-end coloring book is the ultimate gift for young or young-at-heart dinosaur fans.

Pros

Features jaw-dropping, action-packed dinosaur illustrations. Over 80 dinosaur species. Artwork that inspired “The Land Before Time” and “Jurassic Park."

Cons

Unfortunately, its pages are not perforated. Illustrations are printed on both sides of the page.

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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. About BestReviews  
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.About BestReviews 
HOW WE TESTED

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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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 buy, 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 material. 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.

CrayonsCrayons are a great choice for young kids, but they can be enjoyed by kids of all ages. Large sets are great for home, and smaller sets make great travel companions.

Colored pencils: Though you can get sets in all sizes suited to all levels of coloring skill, colored pencils are usually better for older kids.

Washable markersSome kids enjoy the saturated colors markers provide, and choosing a washable set prevents permanent staining to hands, clothes, and whatever other surfaces your little artist decides to use as their canvas.

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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Prices of coloring books for kids

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

Expensive

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 more.

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 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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