Updated on January 15, 2021 by Lyric Fergusson
Every parent thinks the colorful markings of their toddler is an indication of a future Picasso or Monet. Parents will go to great lengths to nurture any possible artistic gift. Here you will find our suggested 7 best coloring books for toddlers for beginning coloring and painting. Enjoy the reviews, and perhaps you can begin the artistic career of your budding toddler artist, or at the very least enjoy their discovery of art and color.
Best Coloring Books for Toddlers & Kids
(Most empowering — $)
Why it’s great: This coloring book has 22 pages that all help to inspire your little girl. There are hundreds of illustrations that encourage imagination and confidence. Everything is uplifting and will teach your daughter to think and be confident. Each page has positive affirmations that your child will be exposed to and start coloring in. It also encourages young girls to be interested in all topics, even those that are normally geared towards boys, like science and math. It helps girls believe in themselves and shows what it’s like to be happy and healthy.
Keep in mind: While a little boy could still get a lot of positive messages from this book, it is made for girls.
Good for: Parents that want to teach their little girls confidence at a young age.
(Most eco-friendly — $$$)
Why it’s great: This coloring book is made from 100% recycled paper and comes with Honey Sticks crayons. These crayons are handmade from beeswax and are completely safe and non-toxic. The short, chubby shape of the crayons makes them easy for little hands to hold and they won’t break! The coloring book features 40 pages of North American plants and animals. This means that your child can learn about the continent and what lives on it, while they color and have fun.
Keep in mind: This is a pricier option, but the cute pictures, the completely safe crayons, and the environmentally friendly features make it worth the cost.
Good for: Children of all ages, as soon as they can hold a crayon and color.
(Best quality — $)
Why it’s great: The pages of this coloring book are a little thicker and better quality than the average coloring book. The pictures and designs are adorable and will make your child want to color. It also teaches your child letters, numbers, shapes, and animals. The pictures are big, which makes them easier for younger children to color. And each page is perforated, so it can easily be torn out if your toddler wants to display their artwork on the fridge.
Keep in mind: The pages are one-sided, which is unusual, but leaves space for your child to draw their own pictures if they want to.
Good for: Toddlers age 2 and up.
(Best coloring book value — $)
Why it’s great: Kids know unicorns, but what about uni-creatures? This set includes 288 coloring pages of Uni-Creatures to ignite the imagination and spark creativity! It also includes 2 pages of sparkly stickers to add character to their coloring pages or anywhere they think needs a little bling. The fantastical creatures will delight your child and they will love to color them in.
Keep in mind: This coloring book and sticker set is best for ages 3 and up. As with all new activities, sitting with your child and having conversations with them while they create is a great chance to hear what they are thinking as they color.
Good for: Children ages 3 and up.
(Best first coloring book — $)
Why it’s great: This is a great coloring book for toddlers who are just starting out and learning to color. Not only does it have coloring pages, but it also has activities and games for your child. Along the way, your toddler will learn letters, shapes, numbers, counting, and much more. The super cute images will attract your toddler’s attention and keep them coloring for hours.
Keep in mind: It’s best to use crayons or colored pencils with this book because the pages are thin enough that marker will bleed through to the other side.
Good for: Children ages 1 and up.
(Most for the price — $)
Why it’s great: This set of Paw Patrol Coloring books come in a 2 pack, with 96 pages each. Your toddler will be familiar with characters such as Marshall, Chase, Rocky, Zuma, Rubble and more. As you sit with your child as they color, you will have the opportunity to have great conversations with them about their favorite character and more. This set also includes pages with games, wordsearch and mazes.
Keep in mind: This set does not include crayons or markers. This set also is considered appropriate for ages 24 mo. and up, but you may need to consider your child’s comprehension level for the games, word search, and mazes.
Good for: Children 24 months and up.
(Most unique — $$)
Why it’s great: This is a fun set that comes with dot markers and two different activity books. One of the books allows your child to fill in letters and pictures any way they like. It does have dots outlined to help your child if they don’t know how to place them themselves. The second book is even more fun and educational, as it’s a different take on color by numbers. Each color marker is labeled with a number and your child can match and dot the correct numbers on the pages.
Keep in mind: Your child won’t really be able to color normally with these markers, but they could color the books with anything they want if they don’t like the dots.
Good for: Children ages 3 and up who are a little more skilled.
(Best set — $$)
Why it’s great: This 3 giant coloring book set features Disney Princess, Frozen and My Little Pony coloring pages. There is a total of 624 pages of creative delight for your little girl that will provide hours of fun, games, puzzles, mazes and of course coloring. There is a bonus! A Disney Frozen play pouch with a mini fun-size coloring book, 25 stickers and 4 crayons.
Keep in mind: This set is for ages 24 months and up. Younger children, closer to 24 months, may not understand the games and puzzles, but it will allow you to work with your child developing these skills.
Good for: Children 24 months and up.
(Best water color value — $)
Why it’s great: First of all, it is Melissa & Doug, a personal favorite, and they have a great reputation for quality toys and activity helps that are both educational and fun. This set includes 24 painting pages of kid’s favorite animals like elephants, cats, dolphins and hippo, along with a paint brush…you supply the water and creativity. It has perforated pages for easy tear out and posting on the refrigerator!
Keep in mind: This Melissa & Doug Water Coloring Book is appropriate for ages 3-5 yrs. Supervision may still be needed with water, painting, and clean-up. But what a great opportunity to help your toddler feel more grown up with this activity.
Good for: Children ages 3-5 years.
(A toddler favorite — $)
Why it’s great: Your toddler, no doubt, already knows the catchy tune “Baby Shark”, so you know they will go crazy over coloring fun pages of Baby Shark characters. They will be able to color with one of the 5 color markers that only work on the special paper each Baby Shark page is printed on. It is every parents dream – mess free coloring! These markers do not work on other paper products, skin, clothing or carpets or furniture, a personal favorite!
Keep in mind: Your toddler should be supervised during any art project. These coloring pages are appropriate for ages 3 and up, however, each child develops at a different speed and younger children may enjoy coloring their favorite Baby Shark character.
Good for: Children 3 and up.
(Most educational — $)
Why it’s great: This coloring book teaches children basic words in another language while they color. This is a great way for toddlers and children to learn a new language. The fun pictures inspire your child to want to know what each word means and helps them develop their love of learning. All of the words are kid friendly and perfect for young minds. The pages are high quality and the art is well done. It depicts children of color and allows all children to see the beauty of different races.
The company also makes these coloring books in different languages that you can check out here.
Keep in mind: This may be a little advanced for young toddlers, but they will still enjoy coloring the pictures and words.
Good for: Children ages 2 and up.
FAQs about coloring books for toddlers
1. When should I introduce coloring to my toddler?
Around the age of 12-15 months. It is best to introduce your child to coloring or drawing when your child has mastered the pincer grasp, at which time they should be able to hold a crayon. But, if your child is still trying to master that skill, the fist grip when holding a crayon is completely acceptable and will encourage those fine motor skills needed.
2. What are the benefits of introducing your toddler to coloring?
Coloring or drawing teaches your child hand-eye coordination, develops fine motor skills, and coordination skills for writing, not to mention, color recognition and parent-child bonding.
3. How should I introduce my toddler to coloring or painting?
First, throw out your expectations. Provide a relaxed, fun environment for you to sit with them and talk about crayons, colors, and paper, at their level of understanding. Begin with blank paper and allow him or her to experiment with holding the crayons and making marks on the paper, encouraging them to stabilize the paper with their other hand. Offer praise with every attempt.
4. How long should coloring sessions be?
Your toddler’s attention span is very short, as you may already know. Beginning each session as a playtime between the two of you is best. Spend time talking about the name of each color. Have them pick their favorite color. Allow them to freestyle and talk to them about what they are drawing. 20 minutes of coloring time is more than enough, however, you may find these sessions shorter or longer, depending on the mood of your child.
5. What emotional benefits does coloring time with a parent have for a toddler?
It is a great time of connection and communication with your child. It is also a time of encouragement for your child that builds confidence and a desire to continue building their newfound skills.
Just as exciting as their first steps and their first words, your toddler’s first artwork is priceless! We love guiding and teaching our little ones through each developmental stage. Coloring and chatting together builds a bond between you and your child. In a relaxed, non-expectation way you can encourage creativity from their little minds and little hands, giving them the satisfaction of expressing themselves. Whether your child is a typical toddler with scribbles of arching lines and mixing of colors or has a gifted talent of creating actual figures and animals, you will enjoy seeing excitement come alive as they experience self-expression through coloring.
The goal is not necessarily just to encourage them to develop fine motor skills and distinguishable art, but rather to develop a connection between you and your child, as well as a love for imagination. So, enjoy the time you spend with your toddler creating their masterpieces!
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