Coloring for kids is one of the most perfect ways to pass the time (a diaper bag must have). Relatively mess-free (as long as junior stays on the paper) and open to wherever the imagination takes them, we are hard pressed to find kids who don’t know the joys of coloring. Coloring books are available in so many varieties— activity books for kids, printable coloring pages, themed PDF packets to download, and even digital coloring options— that there really is something for every type of kid. Sites like BIC’s Kids Website even offer printable coloring sheets for a variety of themes if you ever run out. They have Mother’s Day cards, fun cut-out coloring and folding activities, specific themes like unicorn coloring pages, and connect-the-dots activity books that’ll help teach them how to draw a dog, a flower, and more!
But with so many options on the market how do we know which hard copy coloring books for kids are really our best bet? One of the most important things we need to assess when choosing a kids coloring activity book is the quality of the paper. Remember the devastation of markers bleeding through anyone? (Now as the mom, think of that on the dining room table). It’s not pretty. You also have to choose the images themselves. Your kids might find an image of a thick-lined baby tiger quite boring compared to one with a lot of finite details (same for us when it comes to adult coloring books). However, for our littlest kiddos simpler and thicker lines are better. A good rule of thumb is the bigger the kids get, the bigger their coloring books get.
Sure we could all aimlessly browse Amazon’s coloring books for hours, but seriously who has that kind of time? Not to worry, we have compiled the 11 best coloring books and kits for kids of all ages to enjoy. Just don’t forget the markers or crayons!
Best Coloring Books for Toddlers
For toddlers, coloring isn’t about triggering relaxation. We’re lucky if they can even figure out which end writes. When they do figure that out, look out – Coloring becomes an activity no longer just for paper. Walls, chairs, it’s all fair game. Melissa & Doug Water Wow coloring books redirect that urge. Each spiral-bound pad includes four reusable coloring pages and a refillable water pen. Simply fill the pen with water and let your LO color their heart out. As the pages get wet, a fun and colorful image appears. When the water dries, the picture disappears and is ready to be colored again.
One Reviewer Says: “We bought it in preparation for a 3+ hour plane ride with our 17-month-old. She’s been trying it out at home and enjoys it (for about 5-10 minutes, which is great for her attention span). Love that each book comes with its own pen because I predict we’ll either break or lose a pen in the future. The book dries pretty easily; I spread out the pages while the book is standing on its side. There’s little surprises when you ‘paint’ the picture. For example, when it’s dry, you cannot see a dog in the picture; when it’s wet, the dog shows up!”
Sometimes toddlers want to hang their work up on the fridge like their big brother or sister. We need a way for them to do that without wearing more marker than the page. The Crayola Color Wonder Mess Free Coloring Kit is exactly how we do this. Color Wonder markers only work on the special paper, so even if your kiddo goes a little crazy coloring, it won’t show. The markers are labeled with the color they show on the paper, so kids still learn their colors at the same time.
One Reviewer Says: “I got this for my 14-month-old daughter. She can hold the marker and move them on the paper. She noticed it made color on the page. It does take the marker a second to show up on the paper, but it is a really neat product. I suggest taking the cap off and holding it if you have a young one like I do, just to ensure they don’t try and swallow the cap. She swiped the open marker across my light colored couch, and it left no mark, as advertised. I am very pleased with this product.”
The 123 things Big & Jumbo Coloring Book by Salmon Sally literally has 123 pages worth of entertainment and coloring! Suggested for kids ages 2-4, this coloring includes HUGE images of animals, fruits, vegetables, nature, and more.
One Reviewer Says: “Purchased this little coloring book for my toddler. She needed it for color time at her school and it is perfect. Large printed pictures are wonderful with teaching little one’s to stay within the lines when coloring pictures.”
Best Coloring Books for Preschoolers
Filled with 200 pages of chunky thick black lined coloring images, the My First Big Book of Coloring from Little Bee Books is a must have on the craft table. Thick lines make it easier for kids to stay within the lines, but also make the images more simplistic. This is the perfect combination for kids just starting out trying to get their fine motor skills in shape. Bright white, good quality thick paper means our littles can use their favorite crayons and markers to color the double sided images for as long as their hearts desire with no bleed through. Pro-tip for this book is to crack the spine since it’s so large. That way our kiddos can easily color both sides of the page without having to wrestle with the book. The actual images this book features are perfect for teaching preschoolers new words and phrases while keeping them busy long term. Yes this means you might actually get to flip the laundry AND start dinner without company!
One Reviewer Says: “As an adult who enjoys simple coloring and “happy” pictures when stressed I purchased this book for myself. I am very pleased with this product. There are OVER 150 designs in this book. The pages are double-sided; however the pages are good quality bright-white paper. I have been able to color pictures in this book using Crayola markers and there is NO bleed through. I can’t even remotely tell what marker colors I used on the other side of a page.”
Best Coloring Books for Kids Age 5-8
The I Am Confident, Brave & Beautiful Coloring Book from Hopscotch Girls is 22+ pages of encouragement and motivation while your little one (suggested ages 3-8) is having fun and getting creative. Coloring images include nature, animals, science scenes, astronauts, gardening, swimming, math equations, and much more.
One Reviewer Says: “My daughter has special needs and I knew that this would offer some benefits for her if she’d actually be interested in it (which I was concerned about). Turns out she loves it! I was shocked at how long it held her interest. She even paid attention to the affirmations on each page. She’d read it over and over as she was coloring. It helped her focus and she slowed down enough to pay attention to each color she used and then work on staying in the lines. I was so happy to see her excited about a ‘project,’ that I hang all the pages on the fridge.”
The Space Coloring Book for Kids by Blue Wave Press is a fun way for your kids to explore and learn about outer space. The coloring book includes full-page drawings of planets, astronauts, spaceships, aliens, and more.
One Reviewer Says: “5 year old boy loves this coloring book. Perfect for smaller kiddos. Great,simple pictures. Good quality paper.”
There’s a good chance that your kids think that unicorns are wonderful. And you know what? They’re absolutely right. Coloring in unicorns will absolutely keep your children busy, especially since there are so many color combinations to choose from. This coloring book happens to be a #1 Best Seller on Amazon, and boasts an impressive 4.8 out of 5 rating. Parents especially love the paper quality, and the fact that it kept their kids entertained.
One Reviewer Says: “This [book] is fantastic! Our 7 year old daughter loves the pictures in here and we love the quality of the pages and the book itself. These pictures are wonderful. Thanks for making such a great product!!”
Founded almost 45 years ago, Klutz books are what all of us mamas remember from our childhood. Braids & Bows anyone? This colored-pencils-included-coloring book has perforated pages making the kids creations easy to tear out and hang up. Postcard prints are also included to send a little snail mail cheer to friends. Great for gifting or keeping your own kiddos entertained for hours, the designs in this book are cute, cute, cute!
One Reviewer Says: “This was a Christmas gift for our daughter last year. This coloring book is great quality and the pictures are cute! One year later and our 7-year-old daughter is still enjoying coloring the pictures. A nice way to relax and take a break from playing with her 5-year-old brother, haha”
Kids love to save all their hard work (think of the overcrowded fridge), which is why we love the Mudpuppy Mini Coloring Roll. The roll is easy enough to work on one section at a time and roll it back up when done for the day. The box comes with four nontoxic crayons, which means this can be opened and used as soon as the Amazon delivery truck appears. You can buy in themes like Unicorn Magic, or even San Francisco. Note, these are the smaller version — there are also bigger versions that might be better for older kids.
One Reviewer Says: “My nephew loved it! Great quality for the price.”
Best Coloring Books for Kids Age 8 & Up
Need to keep the kids busy for hours at a time? The MindWare Mystery Mosaics Coloring Book Set is how we do it. Perfect to do with their friends over FaceTime, the MindWare Mystery Mosaics series is a fun way to encourage cooperative play. The kids won’t even realize they’re working on high-level cognitive skills. It’s our little secret… This set includes two books and a box of 36 colored pencils which coordinate with each page’s instructions. Each page includes a color by number image. As you color the image gets revealed into very cool looking art. More than just an exercise in relaxation, these books engage the mind through puzzles and mystery. Honestly, we won’t be surprised if you use one book for yourself while your little one takes the other.
One Reviewer Says: “I bought this set of books and pencils for my 7-year-old child so that I could get her to fill her quiet time with analog (non-screen-time) fun over the winter holiday. The mystery of the pictures being revealed as you persistently color got her to focus and color with me. The squares to color in are about 1/4″, with many of them per picture being divided in half diagonally. There is a key to the color ‘solutions’ in the back of each book, but shhh! Don’t tell your kid that, as it ruins the mystery.”
Guaranteed to keep your tweens busy all day, the 3D Coloring Puzzle Set from DDMY will give them a much needed break from technology. This six pack puzzle set comes complete with 24 brightly colored markers and all the benefits of both coloring and puzzles for kids. This is a two phase activity for kids. The first phase is the coloring and design part. Intricately detailed designs create that destress relaxation that kids love about coloring. When they’re done they move into phase two, which is assembly. The model building will teach patience and organization as our kiddos figure out which piece goes where. The end result is a unique piece of art that can be displayed anywhere in the house.
One Reviewer Says: “Gave these to my two granddaughters ages 10 and 12. Kept them busy for hours first coloring and then putting them together. The final project is 4-6 inches large so when coloring with colored pens, these puzzles would be much too detailed for a younger aged child. Would not recommend for those under 9 unless the children have a personality that is intrigued by intensive detail. These would be great for adults or teens as well.”
Looking for more ways to entertain your creative kids? Check out all of our mom approved kid’s toy recommendations for of hours of entertainment.
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