Get your young children immersed in all things eco by providing them with an array of colouring sheets to crayon or paint – and most importantly enjoy!
Learning Through Play
Pre-schoolers and young children learn through play and fun activities. Most youngsters will happily occupy themselves with crafts and creative projects, and colouring and painting are often a child’s first foray into artistic – and self – expression.
Encouraging Eco Awareness
If you are introducing ecological awareness into your family’s life, it might seem like an impossible task inspiring toddlers and young children to rise to the challenge – after all, your average three year old is probably only interested in what is in the packet or packaging, not what it is made of or whether it can be recycled! But if you can foster their interest through things that do captivate them and hold their attention, for instance, nature, fun characters and superheroes, then you can get your message across in an enjoyable way for both you and them!
Choosing Your Subjects
There are lots of resources on the internet for free colouring sheets on any number of topics. A recent Google search returned 582 hits for a variety of sheets covering festivals, TV characters and popular themes like pirates, pets and flags. Any of these could be used in conjunction with a subtle lesson in ecological awareness!
Making it Fun
Arm your children with plenty of bright crayons, paints and felt tip pens. Glitter glue, dabber paints and beads and sequins to finish off their completed masterpieces will also prove popular. If you are printing your colouring sheets from websites, print them out onto coloured paper rather than plain white copier paper – a coloured background is instantly more appealing and inspiring to look at. If you can print at ‘draft’ quality, you image will appear lighter on the page too, given your child more opportunity to really make the picture their own, without a heavy black outline dominating their work.
Linking the Images to Eco Awareness
You could always produce your own colouring sheets with your own eco agenda on – perhaps if you are encouraging your family to recycle more you could use a picture of recyclable items and a number of recycling bins – if your local authority works on a coloured coded system for the removal of recycling (for instance, certain items have to be put in certain coloured boxes) then you could produce a colour key on the sheet and have your child guess which recyclable items go in which coloured bin – almost like painting by numbers! If you are keen for your family to eat more healthy, e.g. locally produced fruit and vegetables, you could design food related colouring sheets.
Colouring sheets promoting a transport will also be popular – images of various forms of transport such as trains, aeroplanes, lorries and cars will immediately appeal to young children and give you the opportunity to discuss and explore greener forms of transport and introduce them to the importance of reducing our carbon footprint and finding more ecologically friendly and healthier ways to travel. ‘Healthy’ alternatives could be sheets with images of bicycles, horses or ‘fun’ kiddie transport like roller skates or scooters. All things that will have an impact at their level – a child is going to be more inspired and interested in the notion of travelling by horseback or roller skates than exploring the merits of the G-Wiz or the Toyota Prius hybrid car!
Colouring and drawing are activities that most children enjoy regularly, and providing them with sheets that promote a healthy and responsible interest in the environment and eco friendly living with help to garner their interest throughout their lives.