Senior Connection

Jul 31, 2015

Color Me Happy: Adult Coloring Books

By Jane Giuffrida

Coloring. Our first association with that word is children, because it is often an activity we did when we were younger. Recently however, a new phenomenon has people looking at coloring books in a new way. Adults have begun to take back out their old coloring materials for a peaceful activity, and a way to reduce stress. It has become such a popular trend that adult coloring books can be found in almost any retail bookstore, and definitely online at.  Some of these books have even topped bestseller lists.  While the books are available to purchase, there are many online templates that can be printed out for free, so there is no financial disincentive to try it out.

Adult coloring books are slightly different than the ones meant for children.  The designs in adult coloring books are more intricate than those typically found in books geared for the younger age group. They are targeted at utilizing both the creative and tactical parts of our brains.  The creative part comes from choosing the color scheme, and the tactical part comes from applying the colors to the drawing.  This is also the aspect that separates color books from doodles.  With a doodle drawing the person is passive in their actions and their mind can easily wander to other responsibilities or worries.  Whereas the coloring book keeps the focus on the drawing and allows the person a brief time of relief where all that matters is the drawing in front of you.

This activity can work well for both care givers and care recipients.  For the caregiver it can work to reduce their stress, and for the care recipient it can just be a pleasant, peaceful activity.  The caregiver can choose to color alone, or they could do it with their loved one, as an activity for them to do together.  The draw of adult coloring books extends beyond all ages, but to all creativity levels as well.  The pre-done shapes on the page make it less intimidating for someone to begin to create than if they were to stare at a blank page.  It allows for the more creative person to have a lot of freedom to do as they please, but does not exclude those who are not as imaginative.

While the act of physically coloring with markers, crayons or pencils is what we are used to, new technology brings about coloring in a different way. There are apps that allow you to color on your smartphone and tablet. It may seem unconventional, but some of the main benefits of coloring comes from just seeing and working with the colors themselves, not the writing utensils. Cool colors like blue, green and purple have a calming effect. Warm colors should be used when you are in a bad mood because red, orange and yellow are mood lifters. Bright colors are energizing, while pastels and light tints communicate softness and help to soothe the soul when maybe you have too much activity in your life. Dark colors have a relaxing effect and can be used to tone down an overactive mind.  For some people traditional paper and marker is what they will always prefer, but the existence of the apps allows for this activity to be easily taken on the go.

National Coloring Book Day is August 2nd so use it as an excuse to pick up those colored pencils you haven’t seen in a while, try this hobby, and relax! For more information or free downloadable samples go to

Source: Dowdle, Hillary. “50 Shades of Happy: The New Joy of Coloring.” Parade. N.p., 10 July 2015. Web. 


To Enhance The Quality Of Life For Area Seniors And Their Caregivers, The Central Massachusetts Agency On Aging Will Provide Leadership, Information And Resources, Coordination Of Services And Advocacy.