Creating Tactile Graphics Images Part 7: Color the Picture Worksheet

This series focuses on how to create tactile educational materials using simple software and a tactile graphics machine, such as a PIAF or Swell machine. The last several posts have focused on recreating common preschool and kindergarten worksheets - with graphics - for students who are visually impaired. In this post, the worksheets are color-by-number or color-by-shape worksheets. Students are given a code (either a number, shape or letter) and asked to color all the sections in the picture with the corresponding color. In this Coconut Tree coloring worksheet, students should color the triangles green, circles blue and squares brown.

Photo of the outline of the coconut tree coloring page with shapes indicated what color to use in each area.

Attached Coconut Tree coloring page pdf for tactile graphics machine.

Note: If the worksheet has numbers, be sure to use the number sign and then the number. The number sign is helpful to not only identify that the character represents a number, but it also provides important information about the spatial relationship of the dots. A single dot 1 (for either the number "1" or the letter "a" is hard to distinguish that the dot is dot 1 and not another dot, such as dot 6. Adding the number sign (or a full braille cell (dots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 before a letter) provides that necessary spatial information.

It is also important to clip the top right corner of the page after running the image through the tactile graphics machine so that the student can orient the paper correctly. 

If desired, add a key to the document. When a key is added, the size of the image typically is decreased to accommodate for the key. You may choose to provide the key on a separate page or tell the student what color is associated with each symbol or character.

Coconut Tree Coloring Goals

This Palm Tree Coloring activity can be used to:

  • Identify shapes
  • Match shapes and colors
  • Practice tactile graphics skills
  • Practice coloring  
  • Concept skills - learn about a palm tree, coconuts, differences between an common tree such as an oak tree and a palm tree, etc.
  • Corresponding vocabulary words (label/identify the parts of the palm tree)
  • Pair with a book such as Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (ABC's or the Chicka, Chicka 1,2, 3 book)
    • Be sure to change the shapes to letters or numbers to match the Chicka Chicka books
  • Working independently

Labeling Crayon Colors

In order for a totally blind student to choose the correct crayon, the crayons must be labeled or organized in such a way that the student can independently choose the correct color.

  • Braille Label Crayon Board post
  • Triangular Shaped Crayons in a plastic box for $3.99. Triangular crayons do not roll - making it easier for a blind student to keep track of. The plastic box could be labeled and/or organized for easy color identification. The flat sides of the crayons make it easier to add braille labels (super glued to the crayon).
  • Label your crayons with textures: Years ago, I worked with a wonderful braillist who labeled the crayon colors. She used textures and either tied and/or super glued the texture to the crayon. Unfortunately, I do not remember all of the textures she used, but she tried to match the beginning letter of the texture to the crayon. The textures were wrapped around the crayon towards the bottom of the crayon with the exception of the pom-pom which was adhered to the end of the crayon. Here are some ideas:
    • Red was a Rubber band looped around the end of the crayon
    • Purple was a small Pom-pom super glued to the end of the crayon
    • Pink ("Flamingo Pink") was Felt strip super glued around the end of the crayon
    • Blue was a strip of a Bumpy material super glued around the end of the crayon

Mouse Color-by-Shape

In this color-by-shape mouse worksheet, the rectangles are blue, circles are pink, ovals are brown, and triangles are grey. Note: This image has circle and oval shapes that are more challenging to distinguish tactually and the image itself is more complex than the Coconut Tree. Note: The original worksheet had diamonds instead of triangles; however, the diamonds were too small to be easily distinguished tactually, so I chose to use triangles.

Photo of Mouse Color-by-Shape coloring page.

Attached Mouse pdf for a tactile graphics machine

In the Mouse2 Colo-by-Shapes worksheet, I choose to eliminate some of the extra lines in the image. When lines are too close together, they are challenging to distinguish tactually and to color. Example: The ear of the original mouse was pink in the middle with a grey edge. I eliminated the grey edge and made the entire inner ear pink. The mouse's tail started on the left side of the mouse, went behind the mouse (not seen) and curled on the right side of the mouse. I choose to make the tail only on the left side of the mouse, making it easier for a blind student to identify one whole tail rather than two parts. I also removed the line down the center of the mouse dividing the mouse's back and tummy areas. Notice that the image does not have additional lines indicated the the mouse's toes or whiskers, as these lines add clutter.

Photo of the modified mouse color-by-shape worksheet with fewer lines.

Attached Mouse2 pdf for a tactile graphics machine

Note: When tracing the digital tactile graphic (I used the Goodnotes app), make a copy of the image before you add the shapes. This way, if you want to substitute the shapes for letters or numbers, you can use the traced copy of the image and simply add letters or numbers, without having to retrace the image again.

Oringal Mouse2 pdf for a tactile graphics machine (This version is only the simple outline of the mouse - you can add letters, numbers or other shapes to indicate which color to use for which area.)


Color-by-Number Pinterest tag