Teachers will tell you that color by code worksheets provide instant engagement. Get your child practicing academic skills in no time.
Whenever I needed 15 minutes of peace and quiet in the classroom, I’d pull out trusty color by code worksheets.
It was instant engagement. They students loved completing the coloring sheets. I loved that they were getting valuable practice.
Teachers know that color by code worksheets create the learning trifecta:
- meaningful practice
- engaging activity
- sustained focus.
So if you’re looking for color by number worksheets for your child or student, you’re in the right place. Check out all the color by code worksheets available here on Printable Parents.
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What are color by code worksheets?
Color by code worksheets are a version of color by number. For learning purposes, numbers are swapped out for other academic material.
Most color by code worksheets are coloring sheets that have a mystery picture. It isn’t obvious what the picture will look like until it is colored in.
Children complete a color by code worksheet by following a key. The key pairs certain colors with some sort of code.
The code can be a variety of things:
- addition facts
- multiplication facts
- sight words
- phonics skills like CVC words or blends
Inside the coloring sheet, each small space has some text that represents the code. That text matches up with a color in the key.
Your child looks in each small space in the coloring sheet. They use the text in that space to determine which color they need to use as they coloring in that area of the worksheet.
Free Color by Code Worksheets
Since I’ve seen the power of color by code worksheets for student motivation, I have a bunch to share with you!
Check out the free color by code worksheets I have available for you! Just scroll on down and you’ll find the blog post where you can grab each freebie:
- Color by Letters
- Color by CVC Words
- Color by Sight Words
- Color by Blends
- Color by Multiplication Facts
- Preschool Easy Color by Number 0-5
- Addition Color by Number
Using Color by Number Worksheets
When you use color by code worksheets, here are a few best practices:
- Use crayons or colored pencils
- Try out thicker paper
- Choose the right skill level
- Build coloring skills
- Identify the colors
Use crayons or colored pencils
I have not had good luck using markers when I print these color by number worksheets at home. The printer ink seems to bleed with markers.
If you have access to a photocopier, you can probably use markers.
For children who are still learning to hold a pencil, I recommend the Crayola Washable Triangular crayons. They have really helped my chid develop a better pencil grasp.
Use thicker paper
Since there is so much coloring, I feel like a slightly thicker paper causes less frustration. It’s less like to tear and discourage budding artisits.
But if your child already has good color skills, you might not need it. I don’t use 24 lbs printer paper for all my printing – just coloring sheets like this.
Choose the right skill level
It’s almost always better to start with too easy than to give your child something too hard. So don’t give your preschooler the color by blends worksheet.
Instead, let them build success with the Color by Letters printables. Even if you feel they know their letters pretty well, they’ll be refining their coloring skills.
Building Coloring Skills
Coloring in the lines and coloring in a small space completely are two separate skills. So decide which of those two skills is more important for your child.
If you’re working on coloring within the lines, you can use a Wikki Stick to create a physical boundary around the line for your child. They bind in all sorts of directions.
If you’re working on coloring in a small space completely, allow your child to identify the correct color. Then try outlining that one space in the correct color. Tell them in that one space they want to make all the white disappear.
Build from coloring in one space to coloring in 2 or 3 over time.
Identify the colors
Many children won’t be able to read the color names independently. So help your child identify them and color them in on the key.
For example, in the color by letters, you can see we colored in the blue crayon blue and the red crayon red. This will help your child be more successful and more independent.
Color By Letter Worksheets
If you’ve been on social media, you’ll probably hear early childhood influencers say that learning the alphabet isn’t that important. I’ve even hear it called a party trick.
English is an alphabet language. Preschoolers who know 18 capital letters and 15 lowercase letters are more likely to be successful readers than children who do not (Piasta, Petscher, and Justice, 2012).
But teaching your child the alphabet doesn’t have to be flashcard drills. You can do all sorts of activities.
When children are learning the alphabet, color by letter worksheets can be a lot of fun. If your child was an early alphabet learner like mine, coloring skills might lag behind.
So these worksheets help two types of children:
- Those who need to learn the letters
- Those who like letters and need coloring skills
Learning to color in a small space is a big skill so these simple worksheets just use two colors.
You can grab all 26 letters for free in this blog post: Color By Letter Worksheets.
Color by CVC Words Worksheets
Once children know the letter names and sounds, they are often ready to start learning to blend letters into words.
CVC words are the easiest place to begin. They stand for Consonant- Vowel-Consonant. These are CVC words:
But the truth is that learning to blend a CVC word can be tricky for a lot of children. That is where Color by CVC Word can be so helpful.
Your child gets the repetition they need in an engaging way to practice these skills. Each time they decode and color a word like “tip,” it becomes firmer in their memory.
Color by Sight Words Worksheets
Sight words are simply any word you recognize instantly. If you can read intolerable and mysterious, those are sight words for you!
For children in kindergarten, sight words tend to be high-frequency words. These words can be regularly spelled and completely decodable or are irregular. Here are some examples:
Decodable sight words:
Irregular sight words:
Some teachers still teach that words like “had” and “it” need to be memorized. They do not.
If your child already knows the letter sounds, they can decode, or sound out, those words.
But your child still needs to be automatic with sight words. So they need practice.
Instead of a mystery picture, some color by code worksheets just have children use different colors for the same object. These Fall Color by Sight Words Worksheets do that. Grab your free printables in the blog post.
Color by Blends Worksheets
After learning to read CVC Words, children can move onto reading words with initial or final consonant blends.
Consonant blends are when two or more consonants appear next to each other in a word. When a child reads them, the sounds blend together.
They still retain their individual sounds but they are co-articulated. These means their sounds are slightly changed by the other sounds around them in a word.
If that’s too much teacher-speak for you, don’t worry. You can just help your child learn to read blend words with Color by Blend Worksheets.
These worksheets include both beginning and ending blends. They are sometimes called initial and final blends, too.
Some examples of initial blends are:
Some examples of final blends are:
If your child struggles with reading at all, they will need a lot of practice reading blend words. So check out the Color by Blends Free Worksheets.
Color by Multiplication Facts Worksheets
I remember sitting in fourth grade studying my times tables on flashcards. Fortunately we have more fun and engaging ways to practice now.
Most children learn the multiplication facts in the third grade (at least in the United States). While it’s important that they understand the concept of multiplication first, Multiplication Color by Number gives children a lot of practice.
You want your child to memorize the multiplication facts and have an automatic recall. This makes it easy for them when they are doing a multi-step word problem or completing a math problem like 97 x 43.
Instead of spending a lot of mental energy calculating 7 x 3, they automatically know it is 21 and can focus on multiplying the tens place.
Multiplication Color by Code Worksheets helps child develop this recall in a fun way.
Preschool Easy Color by Numbers 1-5
When just starting out with color by number, your preschooler will be most successful when the numbers are limited. So check out Preschool Easy Color by Numbers 1- 5.
Learning to recognize numbers and identify their name is an important pre-math skill. Plus these worksheets help build skills coloring inside small spaces.
Addition Color by Number
Children need a lot of repetition to master addition facts. It can be fun with Addition Color by Number.
Your child just solves the addition equation and writes the sum. Next they look at the key to find which color to use in the space.
While each sheet has over 50 addition problems, it feels less tedious to children because they are coloring!
Recapping Color By Code Worksheets
Here’s the summary of color by code worksheets for busy parents:
- Color by code is like color by number.
- There is academic content in small spaces instead of a number.
- That academic content matches the key in a color by code printable.
- Your child looks at the key to determine the color.
- Using crayons instead of markers and thicker paper could be helpful for your child.
- Color by letter develops letter recognition.
- Color by CVC words helps your child practice basic words.
- Using a Color by Blend Worksheet develops skill in reading consonant blends.
- Your child can practice sight words, or high-frequency words, with Color by Sight Words.
- For students learning the times tables, color by multiplication facts is a good option.
Try color by code worksheets with your child today. See how engaging coloring sheets can motivate reluctant learners.