Why You Shouldn't Make Your Child Color Within Your Lines

Stop making your child color within your lines. What does this mean?

Well, I want to talk to you today about pretend play and the importance of learning through play.

Did you know that research shows that children learn during play? And that it is essential for their development.

Your child's playtime activities, when they're chosen wisely, can result in tremendous benefits for them.

When your child is really little, imitation, imitating you, imitating their Kindermusik teacher, imitating their dance teacher, that's the first form of pretend play.

The complexity of play can then be seen when your child is reexamining their own life experiences.

For example, maybe you took them on the train to go downtown, and then they come home later and they put their blocks in their room in a train and they're pushing, and they're talking about what they saw on the way downtown out the windows.

That's taking their past experiences and using the complexities in their brains to now pretend and relive it over again.

That's a wonderful thing.

The benefits of learning through pretend play:

  • Vocabulary Development.

    They're learning new words, they're creating new words, they're expressing from their experiences that they did before, and now how they're applying it to their playful games that they're doing.

  • Social Skill Development.

    Maybe they're playing with a friend and they're making up their own little rules to the game. There's a differentiation that they learn between reality, what they experienced, and now fantasy, what they're creating.

  • Emotional Support

Through pretend play they can express their feelings.

They can express, this was a happy time, this was maybe a little bit of a sad time. Your child is playing with a doll and the doll is crying because something happened.

Now they're expressing their emotions and learning through that.


Being able to explore and experiment within safe limits, it is of extreme importance to brain development.

Children who are allowed to explore, generally become eager and very flexible learners.

Allow them to explore and experiment. How about that?

Now they're going to become eager and expressive and flexible learners.

This means exploring in their way and not yours.

Don't make your children color within your lines.

Your child's playtime is for their imagination.

If you are stopping them in the middle of play to ask them questions that aren't even related, you're inhibiting their learning.

Maybe you're stopping the way they're building their train and you're helping them build it the way you think it should be built because you think they're having a little trouble and you want to make it easier for them.

Or you want them to color that picture, the way you see it and the way you want to see the end results.

That's making them color within your lines.

That is inhibiting their learning through play.

That whole process of how they learn through play.

You're not allowing them to do it their way. That's how they learn, so I'm going to say it one more time.

Stop making them color within your lines.

Allow them to color within or outside of their lines.

We want to build foundations for creativity for your child.

Companies today hire people that have a very creative background. A lot of art students in colleges are getting hired by big corporations like Google and financial institutions.

They want people with creative minds.

Guess what though?

Learning through play and helping to build creativity does not show up right away.

We live in a world of instant gratification.

We want instant results.

We as parents need to stop and learn patience.

Because we need to accept that creativity is happening through play, today, this very moment, but it's a tiny drip in the bucket.

It's not going to show up till a lot later.

It's helping build a very strong foundation for creativity later.

Our daughter is just now discovering another beautiful side of her creative self, and she's 25.

This may not have developed at all without a lot of the play based learning that she did as a baby, as a toddler, as a preschooler.

Activities that provide an opportunity for flexibility, change, rearrangement of things, that's what encourages creativity.

Think about that.

Flexibility, change, rearrangement, that's what encourages creativity.

Do you know what that means?

When your child is playing outside with the neighbor or a friend and they're creating their own rules to their own game, oh my goodness, a lot of great things are happening.

When you're outside and you're giving them the rules to the game, or how they have to play, that is inhibiting creativity.

When you have a two year old outside playing soccer and there's rules to that soccer game, it's great that they're running around.

It's great that they're learning teamwork.

It's great that they're having a good time and making new friends.

But those rules are lacking creativity enhancement for them.

They're going to be better off playing outside with friends, and making up their own game and their own rules to the game.

How many of you did that when you were little? I did.

We used to play kick the can, but we did it in our own way, and it was really fun. And we worked through making up those rules.

It's very important that your child is able to experience this.

Research proves it.

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Children's play is work, and their work is play.

We hear this over and over again.

But the best part of children's play is that they learn a great deal while having fun.

You may not see it now, but I'm telling you, this shows up later.

They learn a great deal by allowing them flexibility, allowing them to express, allowing them to figure it out for themselves.

Developmental Benefits of Play For Your Child:

  • Language skills

    While playing name games, or singing songs, reciting rhymes, all that language is happening. All that language development. All those connections in the brain are being stimulated.

  • Thinking skills.

    How am I going to solve this problem? We're constructing. We're thinking about what goes next when we construct a block tower. We're following directions to a game. We're learning to take turns, and we're figuring out puzzle pieces. Where are the ones with the ends that have to go around the outside? How is this one going to fit in the middle?

  • Small muscle skills.

    Picking up a puzzle piece. Stringing beads. Playing with scissors. Improvising on the piano.

  • Large muscles skills.

    Playing ball, running around outside, skating, and dancing.

  • Creative skills.

    You're making up stories. You're putting on a puppet show. And maybe you're playing dress up. All of these wonderful things are happening.

  • Social skills.

You're teaming up with somebody else. You're discussing and creating rules to a game, and you're deciding who's going to play what part in the little puppet show.

We use this extremely important research to craft the curricula that we offer at Thrive Arts.

We know what children need to learn.

We know what they crave, we know how they need to learn, and how they crave learning.

Every Kindermusik class uses pretend play very strategically in each class.

Every Leap ‘N Learn pre ballet class that we offer is built around the fact that children need to use their imagination as they learn how to move their bodies, and how their bodies move through space.

All our art classes allow each child to express themselves, so each project looks different. They don't all look alike. We're not all making the same hand turkeys over Thanksgiving week. Trust me. They look different.

Their projects look different from their neighbor's project in class.

They all look different.

They're all expressive.

They show from the heart and from the brain of the child that created it

You may not see the results right away.

Think about this.

We're here to build longterm, strong foundations for your child.

Would you rather build a small house that could be thrown together in a few months that does not have a deep foundation?

Or would you rather that your child be a skyscraper that has a very deep, foundation, and takes a long time to build.

But my goodness, that skyscraper is very strong.

Has a solid foundation, doesn't sway very much.

It stands up very sturdy, strong, and very proudly.

I'll choose the foundation. It's going to take a lot longer to build, and it's going to take patience, But I'd rather have the skyscraper.

It's your child's play at work for their brain. Allow them to color within or outside of their lines, not your picture of what you think it should be. And you're going to see wonderful, wonderful, wonderful things happen.

But it's longterm.

So patience, you do not see results right away when things are being built inside the brain.