Coloring Books



The first coloring books were created to teach aristocrats how to paint. The books were made using woodcuts or copper plates, so they were expensive to produce and not usually made for children. However, the invention of the lithograph changed all that. With cheaper production costs, the first children’s coloring book, The Little Folks’ Painting Book, was produced in 1879. It featured art by Kate Greenaway and was intended for use with watercolors or other paints.

Crayons, first in the early 1900s and then gaining popularity in the 1930s, were for children’s coloring books. Eventually, a wide variety of crayons replaced paints as the artistic medium of choice for coloring books.

Children usually start about age one year to 1 ½ year old to start with an easy, basic coloring book. Such books run beginning at 10 pages and can advance to 60 pages for older children. The advances over the decades for children having coloring books are hand skills, color recognition, and eyesight.

Today, coloring books are produced for children and adults alike. Some have educational themes, ones for certain holidays (like Christmas), while others are simply meant to be calming.

You would be very fortunate if either you still have your old coloring books or even better – your parents’ coloring books.

Photo: 1943 vintage coloring book.

Related FamilyTree.com Blogs:

Vintage Children’s Games

Do You Have a ‘Baby Book”?

Parcel Post Children

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