I have always treated coloring as nothing more than busy work. I know that it is a precursor to writing and helps them develop skills in using a writing implement, but I have still never taken it that seriously. Today I found a book of over sized princess coloring pages which my Dad had given the girls a long time ago.
I sat the girls down and they each chose a page to color. I made them color the entire page - every single part. Every rose, tree, earring, etc. We spent almost an hour coloring these pages. Here is Catherine's finished project:
Both girls asked to quit several times, but I had to redirect them and make them finish. I really wanted this to be a work ethics lesson, to get the girls to learn to finish a project. So often Catherine will start a coloring page (or a worksheet, jounaling entry or household task) and quit after just a few minutes. I want her to take pride in her work and learn the habit of completing a project.
After they were done, they wanted to add glitter to their coloring pages. I indulged them because they had worked so hard. Like every other mother, I dislike the mess glitter makes. But it was worth it when Catherine yelled out "Wow!" as soon as she saw Belle's shiny dress. They wanted to hang them on the wall near their beds. Again, I indulged them.
I plan on coloring more of these princess posters a few times a week, to build up Catherine's hand endurance and both girls' work ethics. Hopefully I will not have to force them to color the entire page once they do this a few times. Perhaps they will develop the habit of completion quickly.
Coloring with them also led to some interesting discussions. We talked about the fact that some roses on the page were in full bloom and some were closed (buds). I encouraged her to choose two different greens - one for the grass and one for the trees. Catherine decided on her own to color the windows of the castle yellow, so it would look like lights were on inside the castle. I love the attention to detail which this activity encouraged!