Thrift store treasures…vintage coloring books.

 One of my favorite items to hunt for when out shopping are coloring books from long ago. They are like history books of what different decades were like. They are getting harder to find though, since they do get used and pages get torn out. Coloring pages that get hung up on fridges over the decades with little magnets to eventually be tossed away. If you find one unused, consider it rare. You can still come across them, just a little harder each decade that goes by. Mine are a little beat up, some water stains, little tears here and there, missing covers and one has tiny little holes like someone jabbed an out of ink pen to it…you all know how that goes. But there still great ways to entertain the little ones on rainy days and bored moments.

 Over the years, when my children were very small I would use vintage coloring books for their homeschooling lessons. My kids generation of coloring books, printed after 2000 just didn’t seem the same as the ones from long ago. I used a lot of these coloring books for lessons, making copies of the pages so as not to destroy the old books. Maybe someday my daughter will use them since she is studying education and ministry.

So here they are, just fun activities of what the kids colored back in the day. First I will start with this book from the 70’s. Mostly the pages were filled with flowers, cats and fish, just generic things from our every day lives.

There were dot to dots, and mazes on some pages. Eventually the pages became more advanced with tiny details of people traveling, farms, a jungle, all kinds of tiny details.

There was even a disco dance on one page. That one made me laugh.

My children’s favorite was this one. Richard Scarry was a very popular one in our home. We still have some of his books in my library. I kept my kids favorite books from when they were little, maybe some day they will want them in their own libraries.

They also had tiny villages to color in this book of over 500 projects.

Some pages had paper kits to put together like these envelopes down below. This was always a fun one for the kids when practicing writing skills and pretend play of delivering letters.

They even had paper buses to color and fold together.

Paper dolls. So many fun projects.

And lots of character coloring pages from the stories of Richard Scarry books. Just a really cool book. Again, none of these pages were ever used. They were printed on a copy machine and that is what the kids would color and cut out. This way these fun activities could be shared with many over the years. We shared with many kids in craft classes I taught and when I was volunteering at the public school in our neighborhood.

My favorite was this book in photo below. The cover was missing when I bought it but it was a gold mine of educational activities.

This page down below was a fun one, it used coins as templates to trace over to create characters.

The kids got to cover all kinds of subjects with this lessons, like money, handwriting skills, and even some speech lessons with big and little shapes and the different animals they could create.

There were also other lessons that helped encourage creativity as well as work on communication and speech. Story pages are great ways to get children speaking.

Just so many ways for the little ones to learn in this book.

Then there are the books like this one that I remember coloring as a kid for Christmas.

We had lots of hand made paper ornaments on our trees. These Holiday coloring books were very popular back in the 80’s. They came in all sizes. I remember little 5×7’s that had several pages to tear out. Really thick books with all kinds of Christmas themed pages to pass winter break from school with. Do they still make those?. These holiday coloring books kept many kids over the decades busy while moms and dads worked on getting holiday dinners ready and gifts put together, It also kept a lot of parents happy during those two weeks the kids were off from school to sit at a table quietly coloring away.  

The other day I decided to check out what coloring books look like now. I found one at a popular store that my son and daughter LOVE to shop at, I mean they are fanatics with this store. Anyway, here I was shopping along with them when I decided to check out their kid’s coloring books. Flipping through one I came across creatures not seen anywhere here on this planet. Very creative and trending at the moment I remember my days back in the 80 ‘s when I loved unicorns. I had a few unicorn stickers that decorated my school books back in the day. So here I was now, in the year 2020 looking through a coloring book but these unicorns were a little different. I flipped through page after page of unicorn creatures all shapes and sizes. Apparently unicorns aren’t just for horses anymore. There were unicorn penguins, birds, and what looked like sheep… I think. I couldn’t tell with some of them.

Rainbows everywhere and some creatures had wings with their huge single horns but there were no activities or lessons on money and puzzles. Nothing that I could see that encourages creativity or communication and speech. There are also coloring books from Characters in movies, again, no longer generic versions for children. Everything is from a brand and all the dots connect. If you have the bed sheets of a movie character, then why not pj’s and cups, dishes, wrapping paper, toothbrushes, foods we eat etc….think you get the point.

There are generic adult coloring books like cats/dogs and lots of floral pages but the kids coloring books seem to be a little strange to me. My daughter laughed at me when I said “What is this, do know what this is?” while I showed her a coloring page of a funny looking creature with wings, one giant horn, huge eyes, and a big creepy smile. Even my daughter admitted it was a bit creepy, not like the coloring books she used to color. Think I would stick with adult coloring pages for my kids now days if I had to pick some. I had my daughter take a photo of the creepy strange looking creatures but she has cleared her phone since then. I thought it would be fun to show you a decade of coloring pages side by side. Anyway, sometimes I think about what people in the future will think when they come across coloring pages after 2020.

So if you ever come across vintage coloring books grab them, they are becoming extinct I fear, or maybe they already have. Happy coloring everyone.  

7 Comments Add yours

  1. ourcrossings says:

    I love reading about your thrift store finds. My little one adores colouring and she would go through an endless amount of colouring books. I often join her, too. Colouring calms my mind and it’s almost looks like meditation. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 😀 Aiva

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Aiva, I am also a coloring book fanatic. I agree with you about them being calming. I still color as well and sometimes I even get my 20 year old son and daughter (22) to color with me now when we have picnic/hiking trips to the desert parks here. I pack up some coloring pens and a couple adult coloring books and when we are just relaxing out in nature we all find a really cool art page to color. Hope you are all well and have a great week too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I had a Richard Scarry nursery rhyme book – I’m going to look for it tomorrow!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always loved his animal characters.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved seeing those vintage coloring books. I have always loved to color, even know as an adult. Of course, now I can’t do it without my daughter jumping in and taking over for me! Ha!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think we ever out grow coloring, it is just too much fun. I still love the smells of a new box of crayons. I am always picking them up for the neighbor kids for Christmas stocking stuffers.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know! I love the smell of them too!

        Liked by 1 person

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