Colouring books for adults are getting a lot of media attention lately. Detailed colouring books have been gaining popularity for some time as a creative and calming outlet for stress. The repetitive lines and shapes in Zentangles and Mandala books have drawn interest from adults as a way to practice focus and meditation. A recent New York Times story on the drawings of Johanna Basford has her Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest coloring books sold out on Amazon.
Colouring is an almost instinctive activity that bridges the age gap from very young to the elderly and can be a great activity for grandparents and children to do together. It produces a sense of calm and can provide an opportunity to sit down and let conversation flow naturally. It also evokes pleasant memories of childhood and more complicated designs can help older people maintain fine motor skills.
Even elderly people with dementia can benefit from creating art. A study from St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto shows that artistic abilities are preserved despite degeneration of the brain.
Drawing, painting, sketching, colouring or even doodling gives the individual a means of communicating even when other pathways are impaired.
At any age, creating art gives one a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Colouring and doodling opens up the creative side of the brain and can help maintain cognitive, sensory and coordination abilities. Approaching coloring projects with a sense of fun and nostalgia will help bring together many generations in a commonly enjoyed activity.
Adult colouring books can be found at art and book stores and many pages are available online for free downloading such as at www.mandalaproject.org .