The coloring book.

Odds are you got out the crayons and filled in the lines in one when you were a kid, using your own creativity to decide whether Donald Duck should be yellow or blue, or what shade of red should grace the suit of Santa Claus. When you're part of the pre-K set, coloring books are fun, nothing more and nothing less. But, it turns out, drawing in a coloring book confers benefits that help enhance learning and imagination and assist in the development of motor skills.

When was the first coloring book published? Some historians point to illustrations that 17th-century English nobility purchased and filled in with paint as the precursor to the coloring book. Their more modern form emerged in the 1870s and 1880s, and really gained a foothold in the early 1900s, when easier-to-use crayons hit the market.

Some vintage coloring books are now prized collectibles, and adult coloring books have become trendy. Advocates say they have therapeutic value. Marygrace Berberian, an art therapist, told CNN in 2017, "Coloring definitely has therapeutic potential to reduce anxiety, create focus or bring more mindfulness." She also pointed out that people who aren't necessarily comfortable creating art from scratch "find a lot of trainquility in coloring an image. It feels safer and creates containment around their process."

Monday is National Coloring Book Day, a day to celebrate the coloring book and all its benefits, whether for preschoolers or those decades removed from that stage in their lives.

July 29: National Lipstick Day, National Chicken Wing Day, National Intern Day

July 30: National Father-in-Law Day, National Talk in an Elevator Day, National Cheesecake Day

July 31: National Avocado Day, National Mutt Day, World Ranger Day

Aug. 1: International Mahjong Day, National Girlfriends Day, Spider-Man Day

Aug. 2: National Coloring Book Day, National Ice Cream Sandwich Day, Assistance Dog Day

Aug. 3: National Georgia Day, National Night Out, National Watermelon Day

Aug. 4: National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, National Coast Guard Day, Single Working Women’s Day

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