My son HATES to color. He doesn’t see the purpose in it, knows he’s not great at it (getting better since starting OT for fine motor skills) so he literally looks elsewhere while he is coloring. That said, it is something that I have tried many different ways to make purposeful for him and haven’t been too successful. While I was at the teacher store (Teacher Heaven), I came across these textured rubbing plates, which are basically plastic pieces the size of a sheet of paper with raised parts so when colored upon, they reveal different patterns and shapes. I got one package with these three sheets of nature patterns to see if he would be into them but they also make sheets with animal prints.
We tried them out and it worked! He colored for almost a whole minute, which for us is HUGE!!!
This is also something that you could do with other things such as leaves, place mats, coins, corrugated cardboard, etc. – basically anything that has a good texture to it. If you are like me and like to have things contained, you could create a texture bin to store different textured items that you come across. This would not only help you store materials for a station activity like this, it could also be part of a station activity where your child chooses 2 or 3 textured items to experiment with and color upon.