Colouring for Language Learning: A Set of Activities

A splash of colour may be all they need.

Colouring has become the latest most popular trend for unplugging and taking a break from life for a few minutes to create something artsy.

In ELT, colouring is mainly employed with young learners, when they are asked to draw and colour or offered colour sheets with instructions for colouring, which reflects a traditional colouring-is-for-kids-only attitude.

Colouring can become a powerful tool in our toolkit and help increase students’ memory performance and facilitate learning. My today’s blog describes an activity combining working with text and colouring. The colouring sheet is based on the popular British nursery rhyme This is the House that Jack Built (see here)


I ‘built’ the house using Microsoft Paint. You can also convert your texts into images by using ASCII generators.

You can either print out the colouring sheet to use in the classroom (your students will need markers or coloured pencils or gel pens) or use the jpeg file and have students colour with their iPads. Click the following link to download the colouring-sheet.

Below are the instructions for colouring. They have been designed to revise parts of speech and introduce relative clauses. However, the possibilities are unlimited here. You may change the instructions and include particular questions to the text (What was the farmer doing? Where was the malt? etc.), or focus on other aspects, such as vocabulary or pronunciation.

instructions for colouring

You can choose to read out the instructions, or display them onto a large screen, or split students into small groups of 3 and hand out the instructions for the roof, walls and fence separately to each student and have them read them out in their groups.

This activity may be used as an excellent memory game. Get your students to repeat the lines in the section each time after they have completed the instructions.

Ask your students to pick any colour for the door and the rooster and add any details to their piece of art. This may be the perfect finishing touch.

If your students have followed the instructions correctly, they will get this image of the house.

colouring the house

Happy colouring!

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My blog 1 WORKSHEET – 10 GAMES has been shortlisted for the #TeachingEnglishBlogAward. Your like on the Teaching English-British Council page will be much appreciated!

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