Simple Pleasures: Coloring Inside the Lines

Everyday Adventures

These days we, as individuals trying to be more individual, are encouraged to think outside the box and color outside the lines. Sure, it’s all kinds of buzzwords and jargon that we tune out, but the idea behind it is that being IN the box or coloring INSIDE the lines means we’re being contained, constrained, and normalized into sheeple-hood.

And I say nuts to that!

I’m all for being yourself and doing your own thing your own way, but there are times to be in that box and out. Times to color outside the lines and times to color inside.

Crayons and coloring books were staples growing up. They were a cheap way for my single mother to supply us with hours of occupation. Plus, Mom really liked to color with us, though she didn’t have as much time for that when the boys were younger as she did when I was still an only child. Mom taught me about outlining the shape I was coloring so that it would be easier to keep my coloring inside the lines and look nice and pretty. Even though I’m well into my 30s I still love to bust out the big box of crayons and a fresh coloring book when the mood strikes and just have some simple, childhood fun.

It’s a great way to get in the creative mood without any pressure beyond filling in spaces.

And that’s where I think coloring books and crayons excel. Just like in writing where we learn the rules of grammar and syntax before choosing to strategically break them for literary effect, coloring inside the lines teaches us shapes and relationships and the nature of how things fit together. Lines, boxes, and boundaries give us safe spaces to create within when a blank page or open vista might be too daunting with the unlimited possibility of it all.

Exploring outside of those lines is nice and fun and wonderful when something different beckons, but having those lines to return to is truly a simple pleasure.


This musing on the simple joys of a fresh box of crayons and new coloring book was prompted by a recent notice from Crayola:


To celebrate their 110th birthday, the 8 original crayons are throwing a birthday bash at the new fun-omenal Crayola Experience, the world’s only interactive Crayola family attraction. Right now, they’re out on a colorful adventure to spread the news, and you’re invited to join the fun!

How can you join in on the fun? You can FOLLOW the crayons on their adventure, LEARN more about each color and enter to WIN a trip for 4 to celebrate their birthday and the Grand Opening of the all new Crayola Experience this coming May, 2013!

Visit the Crayola Facebook page and click “enter now” for your chance to be first in line when the Crayola Experience reopens.

The new Crayola Experience features four floors of new interactive exhibits and one-of-a-kind attractions that will bring the magic of color and your child’s creativity to life! The winner will be among the first to experience the fun, along with a three- night, all-expenses paid stay. It’s an experience your kids will never forget – and neither will you!

Crayola is much more than crayons, of course, but it’s tough to think of the brand without the iconic box of brightly colored hues just waiting for fun. I was always partial to the blue shades–midnight blue, cornflower, and cadet blue. What was (is?) your favorite Crayola crayon color?


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