Using Adult Coloring Books for Homeschool Art (or history, or science…)

Coloring isn’t just for kids anymore! There is a recent trend of adults buying and using coloring books themselves. Coloring is a great way to relax and unwind. And this trend does not just stop at adults, it is a growing and health beneficial trend for teens too!

Using Adult Coloring Books for Homeschool Art (or history, or science...) from Starts At Eight

As our teens struggle through their adolescent years, they push to put away the “childish” toys and habits and pull to get to adulthood faster. The traditional children’s coloring books are considered babyish and therefore beneath them. But what if they could have options that appealed more to their taste? Instead of Doc McStuffins or the Backyardigans, teens now have options like Harry Potter, Color Your Heart and Enchanted Forest.

Adult Coloring Books for Homeschool

I am using adult coloring books with my teen this year to add in some art. It offers an easy medium for incorporating art, as well as an activity they we even do together sometimes, offering us some quite time to chit chat and relax.

One of the more “educational” things we are doing is experimenting with different types of materials to color with.

  • Staedtler Pens – I use these pens in my planners to color code things, but I have found I really like them for the very small and detailed colored pages as well!
  • Twistable Colored Pencils – I like these because you don’t need a pencil sharpener to use them, and they are narrower (finer) than working with crayons.
  • Colored Pencils
  • Crayons
  • Papermate Flair Pens – these offer the soft, easy coloring of permanent markers without the nasty bleed through that often happens with permanent markers.
  • Watercolors – Watercolors are better with larger, less detailed coloring pages and can be a fun and different means of coloring, with their own skill set and techniques.
  • Permanent Markers – we tried permanent markers but the books we have are double sided. Below is an example of how they bled through. If you have pages that are printed on only one side, or if you are not concerned about making the other side unusable, then the permanent markers work well.

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Coloring books can also be a way to learn and inspire. From fun creative patterns, to books that include history, artists, and more! Adult coloring books can be a fun, hands-on way to encourage teens to be creative while working with art concepts (without them really knowing it, or not caring because it is fun and relaxing).

1. Wonders of Creation

Wonders of Creation Adult Coloring Book

Wonders of Creation from Zondervan is 96 pages of detailed black and white drawings depicting many creatures and landscapes from nature.

While I am not doing so with my teen, this book could be used in conjunction with a nature study or nature notebooking. These drawing can be used to spark talk and learning about the various animals and nature settings depicted. You can even doodle little facts around the outside of the drawing to spark your memory!

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Woodpeckers, turtles, sloths, butterflies, insects, snakes, and tons of under water animals are just the few of the things to color that could also become part of a science/nature study.

Wonders of Creation Collage

2. The Colors of Asia

This book features intricate and beautiful designs to color that have graced elegant porcelains and carpets, books of poetry, temple walls and more! There are 90 drawings to chose from and all offer an Asian design theme. Design your own themes and colors, or learn a little about the Asian culture and incorporate their color schemes in too!

The Colors of Asia Adult Coloring Book

The drawing you see below is one my teen is working on with colors of her choosing. She really connected to the wistful, hearts and flowers feeling of this design.

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One thing that this book (as well as most of the others we have seen) doesn’t have is perforated pages to that you can remove them if you choose. This would be helpful in sharing, and also when the binding gets in the way.

The Colors of Asia Collage

{Disclosure: I was given a copy of Wonders of Creation and The Colors of Asia for review.  While I received these free of charge in exchange for my review, my opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way. Please see my full Disclosure Policy for more details.}

3. Famous Artists

Using color books is a great way to expose kids to famous works of art. They can recreate famous pieces while learning about the original artist. If you want to create more of an in-depth study you can add having them read a biography and do a biography report on an artist of their choice while they are coloring one of their famous works.

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Art Masterpieces to Color is one option: From masterpieces by Michelangelo and Raphael to striking creations by Paul Gauguin and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, this ready-to-color collection includes excellent renderings of Grant Wood’s American Gothic, Winslow Homer’s Snap the Whip, and Edward Hopper’s Hotel Room, as well as compositions by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Mary Cassatt, Paul Cézanne, Edward Burne-Jones, Claude Monet, John Singer Sargent, Vincent van Gogh, and 45 other great artists. Printed on one side only, the illustrations can be colored with a variety of media, including watercolors. All paintings are shown in original colors on the inside covers and notes provide information on each artist.

Dover has a whole series (Dover Masterworks) of famous art coloring books including Monet, Degas, Van Gogh and more! In this series the illustrations are printed on only one side of perforated pages, making it easy for artists to remove and display their finished pieces. Plus, the original paintings are included in full color on the inside covers for reference.

4. History

It seems as though if you can name the topic, there is a coloring book for you. Many coloring books also go a step further and include facts and information about the things you are coloring.

5. Science

Using coloring books is also a great way to explore and learn about science. It can help you to memorize the Periodic Table or better understand the inner workings of the human body. Here are a few ideas:

Neuroscientific research has shown that through the use of art therapy, the human brain can physically change, grow, and rejuvenate. Here are some benefits of coloring you might not have thought of.

Benefits of Coloring

  • Exercising fine motor skills
  • Stress relief – it is a centering activity that helps the brain’s fear response to settle
  • Training the brain to focus
  • Decreased screen time
  • Encourages creativity
  • Art techniques – such techniques as shading, using various patterns techniques such as dotting, swirling, etc., using different materials for coloring such as pens, various types of markers, crayons, colored pencils, and even paints, and complimentary/tertiary colors can be taught, used, and reinforced with adult coloring books

Adult coloring books open up a world of fun and learning for older kids and teens. You can easily add other materials to round out a study of almost any topic!