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Adult coloring on the rise

Coloring clubs offer creativity, relaxation, socialization

Created date

December 13th, 2016
Coloring isn’t just for kids anymore! Fox Run community member Michael Samson says it’s a great way to relax.

Coloring isn’t just for kids anymore! Fox Run community member Michael Samson says it’s a great way to relax.

When you think of coloring, you probably envision your grandchildren sitting on the floor scribbling outside the lines on a picture of a cartoon character. But increasingly, coloring is a popular pastime for adults. 

In fact, two popular adult coloring books, Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest, sold a combined 13.5 million copies between 2013 and 2015, according to an article in the New York Post

In addition to books filled with gorgeous drawings, adult “colorists,” as they are called, often use high-quality colored pencils and markers to create their masterpieces. 

Coloring obviously brings people back to their childhood, which can be a fun experience in and of itself—especially if you haven’t done it in decades. But one of the reasons coloring has experienced such a resurgence is because it is so soothing and relaxing. 

Mindfulness meditation

Studies have shown that coloring is an effective way to reduce stress, according to Medical Daily ( 

Other research has demonstrated that coloring stimulates the right brain and gets those creative juices flowing, making it an excellent activity for when you’re trying to solve a problem or fine-tune an idea. It’s also been touted as a way to cultivate mindfulness, not unlike yoga and meditation.

The active retirees living at Fox Run have officially jumped on the adult coloring bandwagon. With the assistance of Community Resources Manager Peggy Mather, they formed a coloring club a little over a year ago. Mather came up with the idea along with her mother, Nancy Ryan, who lives at Fox Run and has always enjoyed coloring.

“We started to see that it was getting very popular in the stores and in articles in magazines,” Mather says. “We put up an interest flyer to see if we might have any residents interested.”

Indeed, they were. Almost 20 people showed up at the first meeting, and the group has been meeting once a month ever since to color and chit-chat in Fox Run’s on-site creative arts studio. Mather says the club members have a range of approaches to coloring.

“We’ve had some who have colored a variety of items and actually framed their pieces,” she says. “Then we have people who say that they just do it for relaxation, that it’s something they don’t have to think too much about—they just do it and enjoy.”

Creative expression

Michael Samson, who moved to Fox Run about a year ago from Bloomfield Township, Mich., is one of the residents involved with the coloring club. 

He first became interested in coloring a while back when his family was looking for activities to entertain his granddaughter while she recovered from an illness. Remembering how enjoyable coloring was, Michael decided to check out the club at Fox Run.

“I thought it would be a fun way to relax and a chance to meet people at Fox Run,” he says.

Mather brings in colored pencils and markers as well as a selection of pictures for the group to color each month. Michael says some are of animals, flowers, or landscapes, and others are more abstract images. Recently, club members colored pictures of foxes in an artful tribute to the community where they live. 

“It’s a very relaxing hour and a nice chance to talk to people while you are coloring,” Michael says. “The pictures turn out very beautiful, and it’s interesting to see how people take the same picture and express themselves very differently.”

Michael says the wide range of interesting activities is why he and his wife Judy chose Fox Run over other retirement communities in the area. In addition to the coloring club, Michael sings in the resident choir, tends to a garden, and is a member of the walking club.

“My wife and I looked at a number of communities in the area, and this is far and away superior,” Michael says. “The number of activities is enough to blow your mind—it’s mind-boggling what goes on here every day.”

Michael has also been impressed by the warmth and friendliness of both the staff and residents at Fox Run. Right after he and Judy moved in, Michael says, their neighbor across the hall came over, introduced herself, and invited them to dinner.

“The people are extremely talented, from all walks of life, and extremely welcoming,” Michael says.