Coloring Pages for Upper Elementary Students and 8 Ways to Use Them

Coloring Pages for Upper Elementary Students and 8 Ways to Use Them

Are you wondering how to use coloring pages in your upper elementary classroom?
Look no further! Whether you're planning engaging lessons, looking for ways to reinforce academic concepts, bulking up your fast finisher bin, or simply want to add a fun twist with coloring pages to your daily routine, incorporating these ideas for coloring sheets will be a game-changer! 

Upper elementary students still love coloring, and with the right strategies, we can turn this simple activity into a powerful educational tool. From fostering creativity to enhancing learning across subjects, coloring pages are a versatile resource you can keep in your teacher's toolbox all year.

Plus, there are so many benefits for students when you bring coloring activities into the classroom:

✅ encourages focus and concentration

✅ increases motivation

✅ enhances creativity

✅ reduces anxiety

✅ improves fine motor skills

✅ reinforces concepts learned

✅ helps kids calm down and transition

✅ encourages patience and persistence

Read on to discover eight creative ways to use coloring pages and activity sheets that will captivate and educate your upper elementary students!

coloring sheets for fall halloween and seasons for 3rd 4th 5th graders

1. Brainstorm for Writing Tasks

Using coloring pages as a starting point for brainstorming helps students when it comes time to write. I love using Doodle Thinker pages because the images directly match to the word work, list building, and writing topic. This allows students to already start thinking about their writing as they color. When they are done coloring, writing becomes their focus.

These are fun, simple, and meaningful to use each month for different holidays and special days!


color by code and color by number activities for 3rd 4th 5th graders

2. Fast Finisher Bins and More

Coloring pages are perfect for fast finishers, brain breaks, center tasks, and morning work! You can also add coloring pages to your substitute bin. Once students understand how to use different coloring activities, they become the perfect independent task. Students work hard and concentrate as they complete different coloring pages. 

Here are the different types of coloring pages that we use:

πŸ‘‰Doodle Thinkers: These are our favorite! Each page has a different theme or topic. The kids color the mini images with any colors they want. When they are done, the kids answer a list-building activity, do word work, do a scavenger hunt, and write to a given task. Since all the images are related to the writing tasks, even your most reluctant writers will love to write!

πŸ‘‰Color by Code/Number: Color by code pages follow specific rules or directions for coloring. Each page includes an image to color. The image is broken into different pieces and assigned a problem to solve. Once the problem is solved, students get the coloring code answer and color that piece in the picture. These are great for reviewing grammar and math skills and strengthening reading comprehension.

πŸ’‘Teacher Tip: Have students complete all of the questions first, then go back and match the code to their coloring. This makes it easier for students.

πŸ‘‰Kaleidoscope Designs: These free choice coloring templates are fun for kids to plan out what coloring pattern they want to use. There is no direction to follow. I encourage the kids to pick three or four colors and design a repeating pattern to complete the page. The kids love to complete these during dismissal time!

πŸ‘‰Quote Coloring Pages:  I love to give students words of wisdom coloring pages that help them stay positive and have a growth mindset. These are fun any time of the year, but I especially love using them at the beginning of the year and during standardized testing season.

3. Vocabulary Building 

We love to draw and label! You can have your students draw their own images or select coloring pages that relate to a specific theme or subject. Students can label different parts of the picture with new vocabulary words they are learning. For example, when you are learning the different parts of a plant, have students draw a plant or find an image/clipart of a plant that students can color and label! Doodle Thinker pages also help build our vocabulary through list writing. 


grammar review color by code activities for kids

4. Tricky Concept Review

Incorporate math by having students solve problems or puzzles where the answers determine the colors they use on different parts of the page. Color-by-code pages are great for this! We use color by code to help practice basic facts like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. But we also use them for more complex math tasks like estimation, place value, telling time, and order of operations!

Don't limit yourself to math! Color-by-code activities are also perfect for any type of grammar practice or review, especially as the kids get older and need reminders and reviews of grammar concepts.


summer olympic coloring page for upper elementary

5. Content and Real World Connections

Use coloring pages related to scientific topics, like the solar system, animals, or plants. Students can color the pages and add labels or facts they have learned about each subject. We love to use science coloring pages to help us understand life cycles! Recently, we loved coloring pages to help us understand tricky concepts and vocabulary related to current events such as the Summer Olympics, solar eclipse, and leap year

coloring positive affirmation growth mindset posters for kids


6. Positive Classroom Decor

I love to display student artwork and coloring! Allow students to color pages that will be used to decorate the classroom. This can help build a sense of community and ownership of their learning space. Select phrases that encourage a positive mindset. You can have students complete sets like these and leave them up all year, or have students color seasonal images and rotate the pages out each month or season.


coloring affirmation pages for kids

7. AffirmationsMindfulness, and Kindness

Integrate coloring pages into mindfulness and kindness activities. Coloring can be a calming activity that helps students focus and de-stress, especially during transitions, after tests, or during crazy times of the year. Daily affirmations are a great way to start the day positively and remind students how special they are! They are also a great way to teach students to be kind.

πŸ’‘Teacher Tip: Use one affirmation a week. Give students time each morning to color the weekly affirmation. You can have students take their completed affirmation pages and create a book for themselves, or you can collect them and decorate your classroom, bulletin boards, or door with them!

kindness coloring pages for upper elementary kids 3rd, 4th, 5th grade

Spread kindness with kindness pages devoted to helping your students reflect on kindness, promote ways that they can be kind, and bring kindness into your classroom! These are also fun to hand and display around the room because they include different kindness phrases!


Grab these FREE kindness coloring pages to try in your upper elementary classroom!

8. Interactive Projects

Create collaborative projects where students each color a piece of a larger image. When assembled, it forms a complete mural or poster that can be displayed in the classroom. These are fun to leave on the back table to have students complete as they finish work throughout the day or week. You can set a time limit to challenge students or just allow them to work and finish as they can. I loved using these last year for holiday and seasonal activities and decor. They are fun to hang when students are done!

Try these collaborative projects...

Coloring page activities like these make learning fun and help integrate various subjects and skills, promoting a well-rounded educational experience for your upper elementary students. Once you begin to incorporate these ideas, you will see an increase in student participation, improved skills and focus, and students asking for more! Happy coloring!

Looking for more coloring activities like these? Head HERE.

kindness coloring pages for kids 3rd 4th 5th grade

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Coloring Pages for Upper Elementary Students and 8 Ways to Use Them

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