Coloring books—they’re not just for toddlers anymore.

In fact, coloring for tweens, teens and even adults is the latest pop culture trend, and Wilton seems to have taken it up. Just ask the folks at The Toy Chest, Wilton’s popular toy store in the Stop & Shop Plaza.

“It started over the summer and really picked up in the fall. Teenagers and up, and adults are definitely coming in. They’re finding it very relaxing,” says Bonnie McCarthy, manager of The Toy Chest. “A lot of people gave them as gifts for Christmas, especially to a lot of college kids.”

Some customers have gotten obsessed, finishing one book and coming in shortly after to pick up one or two more.

“People are like that with puzzles. They finish one and keep coming in and getting new puzzles, now they’re like that with coloring,” McCarthy says.

One set of books, The Secret Gardenwas the first title people gravitated to, and it exploded from there. “There are art books, floral designs, kaleidoscope, there’s one of the New York skyline, Tokyo, which are buildings,” she says, noting that the books range from $7.99 to around $25.

Blue Star Bazaar owner Megan Abrahamsen said the same was true in her store. “They were a hot seller for us—for kids and adults alike. I had to place reorders on both books and oversized posters.”

Wilton Library has developed programming for people to come in and color. Susan Lauricella, who is the coordinator of the Innovation Station, has purchased a variety of coloring books, gel pens and pencils, and she says that people are welcome either to attend the scheduled programs or to ask her for the coloring supplies at their convenience. Lauricella knows firsthand how fun and relaxing coloring can be. Not only does she enjoy doing it herself, but she shared the hobby with her two daughters.

“They’re both in their 20s and I gave them each a nice book and those gel markers, and they were ecstatic! They stopped doing everything else and sat down, and started coloring and loved it,” she says.

Wilton resident Christine Barber started coloring last summer when a friend mentioned taking it up. “She said it was like meditation. I find it relaxing, yet challenging. The hardest part is deciding what colors to use! And I am finding myself wishing for more colors.”

Barber is currently working on a fox with a floral pattern woven in from a book called Animal Kingdom by Millie Marotta. She sent these samples of the other images she’s had fun with.

Part of the appeal is the stress relief from the activity. People who are coloring tell McCarthy they find it very soothing.

“It’s creative and relaxing. And even people who aren’t artists feel good doing it,” she reports.

Barber completely agrees. “I think it’s a great thing for those of us who would like to draw, but don’t have the training. I consider it a pathway to drawing my own.”

Coloring books and the colored pens and pencils were popular gifts for people of all ages. Jennifer Angerame‘s tween daughter received a ton of them and they gave coloring books as gifts to other teens and tweens as well. Angerame couldn’t resist trying it out herself.

“I dabbled, now I’m afraid I won’t stop!” she shares.

We posed the question yesterday on the Wilton 411 Facebook page asking if there were people who had taken up the hobby and got so many answers we couldn’t publish them all. Jenn Lewis wrote that she gave them as presents to both her 85 year old parents, who were “so excited” to receive them. Diane Kuczo messaged us with, “Love my grown up coloring book and my 15 year old loves hers. I just ordered two more. I just wish I had more time to color!” Catherine Hartigan, who has been coloring away since receiving a book at Christmas, shared some interesting information she learned: “They are recommended for people who have chronic pain and those undergoing cancer treatment. Meditative benefits that take your mind away from the pain.”

Perhaps coloring as pain relief was the goal for Kristen Young, who took her coloring books with her to the hospital when she gave birth to her daughter last September. She colored with her husband and mom, and they plan on framing the pictures they worked on for her daughter’s room. Considering that she was in labor for 66 hours [Editor’s note: !!!] it’s incredible that coloring worked to help Young deal with the pain, but she swears it did.

“Coloring definitely helped! I had practiced for a calm birth with lots of deep breathing and focus on happy thoughts. Coloring helped me focus on the various colors and how they made me feel. But in less granola terms, is that it helped me get through the hours without going crazy. Making art for my daughter as her first birthday present also felt really special and purposeful.”

Both Blue Star Bazaar (237 Danbury Rd.) and The Toy Chest (5 River Rd.) carry a wide selection of coloring books and pencils/pens. The Wilton Library (137 Old Ridgefield Rd.) has two upcoming coloring workshops:  for adults on Friday, Jan. 15 at 11 a.m., and for teens on Monday, Jan. 25 at 3:30-5 p.m..