Coloring is a popular activity for anyone at any age. While most adults leave this pastime behind when they enter adulthood, there are a lot of psychological benefits related to coloring, especially when it comes to grief.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Why Is Coloring Good for Grief?
- Free or Inexpensive Grief Coloring Books for Kids
- Free or Inexpensive Grief Coloring Books for Adults
After a loss, it’s normal to experience many types of grief. Overcoming these feelings takes time, and everyone has a different journey as they heal. One popular way to help is through grief and loss activities. While we’re all familiar with talking to a grief counselor, journaling, and expressing our feelings to those we trust, coloring is also a powerful tool.
Coloring in a grief-focused book is a great way to practice mindfulness, reduce stress, and heal. Perfect for children and adults alike, here are the most popular grief coloring books and where to find them.
Why Is Coloring Good for Grief?
Before we begin, it’s important to recognize that everyone grieves differently. However, coloring has proven psychological benefits. Since it’s a low-cost, easy-to-start activity you can do from home, it’s worth a try whether you or a loved one is experiencing grief.
According to the Beaumont Health Center, coloring has the following benefits:
- Reduce stress: First, coloring is shown to relax the fear center of the brain known as the amygdala. This creates a state of mind similar to meditating, giving your brain the peace it needs to heal.
- Creative release: When grieving alone at home, expressing creativity is a therapeutic practice. When you color, this requires both hemispheres of the brain to community, evoking creative energy.
- Improve sleep: Sleeping when grieving isn’t easy. Coloring is an electronic-free bedtime ritual that doesn’t impact your brain’s melatonin level, encouraging better sleep.
- Focus: Lastly, coloring requires a good amount of focus. This opens your frontal lobe, putting your other worries aside temporarily.
Over time, coloring can be a valuable activity to combat grief while healing. Whether you need a way to relax after a challenging day or you’re hoping to quiet your mind, coloring is perfect for both kids and adults.
What do you need to get started? There’s no fancy equipment, crafting supplies, or experience needed. As long as you have something to color with (crayons, markers, colored pencils) and a bit of time, you’re ready to unwind and get lost in a new illustration. Though you can color at any time of the day, it’s a great bedtime activity.
Free or Inexpensive Grief Coloring Books for Kids
When you think of coloring, it’s normal to think of kids. Children experience grief just as much as adults, and they often struggle to put their feelings into words.
These free or inexpensive grief coloring books for kids are perfect for guiding them through healing in a way they understand. When paired with kids' books about death, the options below can be helpful learning tools.
1. How I Feel: A Coloring Book for Grieving Children
Created by Dr. Alan Wolfelt from the Center for Loss and Life Transition, How I Feel: A Coloring Book for Grieving Children clearly depicts many of the feelings children go through after a loss.
With pages for loneliness, happiness, fear, anger, and disbelief, this coloring book gives children a way to process these new feelings. You can purchase a single book for $2 or a pack of 25 for $30 from the Center for Loss and Life Transitions bookstore.
2. Global Children’s Fund Grief Pages
For simple, free children’s coloring pages focused around grief, the Child Safety and Abuse Prevention Programs website is a great resource.
3. Butterfly Wings
Created by Reverend Penny Stemley, Butterfly Wings is a coloring book designed for grieving children. This book relies heavily on the Christian faith, but its stories and pages are relevant to all children experiencing loss. Throughout the coloring book, children explore a story in which faith, hope, and love heal.
4. My Grief Journey
Designed with older children and pre-teens in mind, My Grief Journey by Laura Diehl and Kath Brinkman is designed to guide children through a significant loss.
Each coloring page has pages designed to help children explore a new emotion (helplessness, fear, memories, truth, thankfulness, among others). By drawing, coloring, and writing about their feelings, this book prompts children to think deeply about loss.
5. The Invisible String Workbook
This companion to the bestselling children’s book The Invisible String was written in collaboration with Dana Wyss, Ph.D., an art therapist specializing in children’s grief. The Invisible String Workbook is full of unique activities, coloring pages, and thoughtful ideas for working through grief in an age-appropriate way.
6. Little Book of Healing
Created by Lynea Gillen and Kristina Swarner, the Little Book of Healing is a coloring book that’s beautifully illustrated to help both kids and families understand the natural journey of grief. Small enough to carry with you, this book guides children through anger towards acceptance.
7. The Grief Bubble
Lastly, The Grief Bubble by Kerry Debay is a workbook designed for children 6 and older who experienced a loss. Through this interactive book, children are encouraged to explore their grief in all of its forms, even when it’s difficult.
Free or Inexpensive Grief Coloring Books for Adults
As explored above, children aren’t the only ones who benefit from coloring books focused on grief. By focusing on this mindful task, it’s easy to escape the worry and anxiety that often plagues our minds after a loss.
8. Coloring Through Grief
Artisurn, the maker of handcrafted urns, created a free zentangle-style coloring ebook called Coloring Through Grief. Each page has an action-driven affirmation to help you process healing, grief, and hope. With intricate designs and thoughtful planning, this is a great free resource.
9. Colors of Loss and Healing
Grief counselor Deborah Derman created Colors of Loss and Healing with an adult’s unique journey through grief in mind. By combining gorgeous drawings with inspirational words, this coloring book offers a quiet space to practice mindfulness and express feelings.
10. Messages From Heaven
This is a combined grief diary and adult coloring book. With 29 pages about grief and loss, Messages From Heaven may help you bring your memories and experiences to life. Created by JC Grace, it’s important to work through these feelings to find your own acceptance.
11. Reflections of Love
April McCallum created this one-of-a-kind coloring book with 50 color pages created by hand. Paired with quotes and verses, this book is all about reflection and finding hope for the future.
The author of Reflections of Love is an illustrator, writer, and cartoonist. She uses her cartoons and illustrations to speak to issues close to her heart, such as grief and loss. As the name implies, her work is truly a reflection of love.
12. Nightfall Coloring Book
Though not specifically related to grief, the Nightfall Coloring Book by Maria Trolle is a true testament to healing. With 94 full-page illustrations of diverse plants and flowers, this can be an invitation to enter another world for a short while.
Thanks to its detailed depictions of nature, this is a coloring book for anyone looking to escape from the “real world” for a while. With a botanical reference in the back, it’s easy to create something realistic or to express yourself creatively.
13. Inspirational Quote Coloring Pages
For those who find healing through aspirations and words of wisdom, these Inspirational Quote Coloring Pages from Christina Dronen of Finally Family Homes are for you. Available for free to download, there are quotes related to hope, peace, scripture, and success.
14. 40 Affirmations for Grief
Last but not least, the 40 Affirmations of Grief coloring book by The Affirmation Blueprint is designed for those experiencing a recent loss. With 40 affirmations focused on mourning, this is a welcome way to overcome the pain of bereavement.
The designs feature a variety of mandala images, each offering a new chance to be creative. Aside from coloring designs, this affirmation coloring book also has space for leaving notes, journaling, and more.
Find Peace Through Coloring
Coloring isn’t just for children. Both kids and adults can reap the psychological effects of coloring. From finding peace after a loss to expressing complex feelings, there are a lot of ways to benefit from adding coloring into your daily routine.
Whether you’re guiding your child through a loss or working on your own feelings of grief, it’s important to find what works for you. With some of these available for free, you can give coloring a try for yourself. Who knows what you might discover, even if you go outside the lines?
- “Health Benefits of Coloring for Adults.” Beaumont Health Center, www.beaumont.org/health-wellness/blogs/health-benefits-of-coloring-for-adults.