Try Some Brainy Pages for National Coloring Book Day

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Coloring and coloring books have been a popular activity among children for many years and has even re-emerged as a trend for adults. Not only is it fun, coloring can be relaxing and a great way to reduce stress, among other benefits. Today is National Coloring Book Day, and what better way to celebrate than by spending time with your friends, children, grandchildren, or by yourself to sit back and color?

Among its many free downloadable materials for kids and adults, the Brain Awareness Week section of our site features a new series of coloring sheets based on the five classic senses: sight, taste, sound, smell, and touch. While these pages are geared for young children, everyone is welcome to fill them with color and learn a thing or two about how the human body receives sensory information.

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Coloring and drawing also have their cognitive benefits: Reward pathways in the brain become active during art-making activities. A team of researchers at Drexel University published a study last summer that found making art resulted in stress reduction and increased positive emotions. The team used functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) imaging to measure blood flow in the brain while participants took part in various art-making activities.

“The prefrontal cortex is related to regulating our thoughts, feelings, and actions. It is also related to emotional and motivational systems and part of the writing for our brain’s reward circuit. So seeing increased bloodflow in these areas likely means a person is experiencing feels related to being rewarded,” the study’s authors report.

If you’ve already printed our coloring sheets on the senses and want more, you can download today’s National Coloring Book Day pages for free here. There are also coloring book parties happening at public libraries, museums, and wellness centers all over the US! To share your completed work on social media with fellow colorists, use #NationalColoringBookDay.

– Seimi Rurup

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