1. Color recognition— many children receive their first (and sometimes their only) exposure to the color wheel and art, through the use of crayons, markers, and colored pencils. Learning how to tell the difference between red, pink, green, yellow, and so forth, might not seem like a big deal, but children who color with crayons or markers early on, have an easier time of understanding colors, the makeup of colors, and the mixing of colors. This can only help the child as he/she gets older, and is exposed to the full spectrum of color in the color wheel.
2. Self expression–coloring on a blank “canvas” (piece of paper), is a way for children and adults alike to express themselves. You can tell a lot about the way a person is feeling by the images that they draw, the colors that they use, etc. A child who draws skulls and other disturbing objects might be crying out for help, in the only way that he/she knows how. A child who draws hearts, suns, and other cheerful objects may be expressing satisfaction, content, and love, in the only way that he/she knows how. It is important to give children a chance to express themselves, and not all children express themselves through words and through writing, many use art.
3. Grip/Control–many children learn how to hold a pencil, pen, marker, or colored pencil, by first learning how to hold a crayon. For many children, a crayon is the first object that they have to “grip” in a certain manner, in order to control it. Many children learn how to hold a pencil, by first coloring with crayons. I think it’s important for children to develop proper grip and control over a crayon, to help them properly grip and control other writing instruments in the future. All of the skills they learn from skills, will definitely help when it comes time to work on penmanship.
4. Coordination–coordination is yet another important lesson that we can learn from coloring. It takes a lot of hand-eye coordination to color in a coloring page. From the proper way to hold the crayon, to recognizing what color to use, to sharpening crayons, these basic coordination developing skills will last children a lifetime.
5. Building motor skills–any time a child does something like color, play with blocks, paint, etc, they think they are just having fun, when in fact they are developing motor skills at a very basic, simple level that they will expand on later in life. Coloring with crayons or markers, learning to print, pencil grasp, playing with Play Doh, beading, lacing, crumpling paper, tearing paper, using stamps, and wiggling fingers all are activities that help to strengthen and develop hand muscles. These skills are very important to help develop activities later on, such as typing, lifting objects, and other activities that they will encounter as they grow older. These activities require arm muscles and hands to work together to be able to manipulate objects to perform the task(s)
Read more about the benefits of coloring at http://www.dltk-kids.com/articles/why-color.htm