I sometimes work with kids who have what I call the “coloring book mentality”. By that I mean they want to be told exactly how to do an art project. Sometimes this seems to come from coloring books being a child’s most common art material. If that’s the case, they often think there is a “right” way to paint, draw, etc. and they aren’t confident in their own creativity. Coloring books can even be frustrating for some children if they don’t yet have the motor skills or coordination to color within the lines, but they think they are supposed to. I am not opposed to coloring books in general, but I don’t use them in my classes because I want kids to have the opportunity to express themselves and I feel that starting with a blank page is a good way to do that.
Some kids really enjoy coloring books and if that’s the case, they should have them. But encourage the kids in your life to explore their own creative process, and to create art that reflects how they see the world around them. When you’re 3 years old, there is no “right” or “wrong” in art.