Thursday, December 1, 2011

Coloring Inside the Lines - 5 ways to make coloring fun!

Who says blind children don't need to learn their colors? For a visually impaired child, it may not be at the top of the priority list when it comes to kindergarten readiness, but an awareness of basic colors is bound to come up each day. So how do you incorporate good old coloring into your child's lessons? Easy- scented markers, raised line coloring pages and more! Below are a few ideas to get you started. Feel free to post your own ideas in the comments section, too!

Hints: Keep the paper in place by taping it to the desk or use a clipboard; Try triangle shaped crayons for new artists to learn proper finger placement and grip techniques!

Use dimensional paint writers (like TULIP brand Slick Writers) to outline print coloring pages from regular coloring books or print your own from your computer. The paint dries relatively fast, so if you do it in the morning you can color the page by lunch time.

Fuzzy Felt or Velvet coloring sheets can be found at hobby stores and dollar stores. The linies are raised in that they are outlined with a soft but permanent fuzzy material that fingers can trace to make out the image. Sometimes they are pretty detailed, so take that into account when finding an age appropriate project. Many are on heavy cardstock or even thin cardboard which holds up better for little ones that tend to crinkle or tear construction paper. You can often find these in very large sizes and with markers included in a set.

Miss M using one hand to feel the raised paint lines, while coloring with an easy to hold triangle crayon.

For small children new to coloring, the lines may not be needed. Instead, try putting a piece of sandpaper, glitter cardstock, or plastic mesh underneath the paper. Keeping it all in place is easily accomplished by using a clipboard- just be careful with little fingers! The child may then use crayons (glitter crayons make great texture!) to color over the paper thereby receiving feedback from the texture beneath the paper and often creating texture on the paper, depending on the coloring utensil, thickness of paper, how hard the crayon is pressed, etc. Try different combinations to find out what your child enjoys the most!

A variety of art companies make scented markers and crayons, including Rose Art, Crayola and Mr. Sketch. You can also label colors on the markers using sticker paper (back adhesive) and your brailler, or contact us for custom labels! Scents can easily link colors to real world characteristics and objects. For instance, yellow is lemon scented, green smells like grass, and purple smells like grapes! You could do an entire sensory lesson using these ideas with foods and things around the home. (Personal note: Scented markers smell much better than the crayons I've experienced, however can be messier.)

Crayola Color Wonder Sound Studio - bring your coloring pages to life with realistic sounds including animals, transportation and even your favorite Pixar characters. Refill pages can be purchased separately or you can use your own regular paper. I used dimensional paints as in idea #1 above to make the Crayola pages raised line drawings, then recorded the sounds as instructed for each page. Each time the child colors over the designated area, she can hear the tiger roar or the car horn beep. The special Crayola mess free markers only color (show up) on the Color Wonder paper, thereby keeping your surroundings (table, chair, child...) clean! There is also the Crayola Beginnings Color Me a Song which makes different music depending on how fast or slow the child colors, and which instrument buttons are pressed. This is great fun for early scribblers!
  • Product Dimensions (inches): 13 (L) x 12 (W) x 2.1 (H)
  • Age: 3 years and up

Crayola Beginnings Tadoodles Markers (Easy Grip) - These easy grip markers are designed for children ages 18 months and up. The design encourages development of gross to fine motor skills. Some of the animal designs make a noise when the caps are replaced, too! For more fine motor help, try the triangular markers and crayons designed to teach proper pincer grasp.

Dora Talking iCrayons - This is an older product I found at Target, but have not been able to find them since then. If you already have it, you can still buy braille and no-braille labeled replacement crayons from Independent Living Aids or on Amazon.

Use adhesive backed sticker paper to make your own braille labels for markers.

**All brands and companies are registered trademarks, along with their products. This blog description is just a personal opinion & recommendation from a parent of a blind child!**


  1. "Ideation" at work! True form!

  2. A wonderful idea!!!

  3. I know I'm a couple years late commenting here, but this is an awesome blog post! I'm putting a link to it in my private list of websites of resources to help me as an early childhood educator. Thank you so much for all these suggestions!


Thanks for the comments!