One of the most magical sights in nature is a rainbow! Music and poetry have addressed the beauty of this phenomennom. Is it any wonder that it is such a popular theme for children’s classrooms and programs?
Updated March 2013…
There are many ideas that are geared to younger children in this category; however, there are also suggestions for school-age youth.
TWO ‘RAINBOW HANDS’ BULLETIN BOARD & WALL IDEAS
#1 Idea: Using colored construction paper of yellow, orange, red, blue, green and purple traceCHILDREN’S HANDS. Make about 10 hand prints of each of the colors of the rainbow.
Put the children’s names on the hand-prints; form the hands into a large, curved rainbow shape. (All the reds in one curved arch of the rainbow…
#2 PAINTED RAINBOW Make a huge hand print rainbow using different colored finger-paint; use white butcher paper as the background.
- Have kids dip their hands in one color and print a few along one row.
- Have other children do another row, (with colors of the rainbow) until you’ve made a huge rainbow. Fill in with seasonal themed decorations! …f
FUN ‘RAINBOW THEMED’ IDEAS
- Ask children to wear clothing of each color of the rainbow or dress in a solid color of just one of the rainbow colors. You could also declare ‘RAINBOW DAY” and all wear as many colors as possible!
- Mix and match plates, cups and napkins in rainbow colors.
- Face paint a small rainbow on the cheek of each child.
- Attach a large cardboard painted rainbow to the room’s front door.
- Paint rainbows on the windows of your room….(See Paint Recipes on Paint page)
- Read the ‘Rainbow Fish’ books. Make rainbow fish by decorating and putting sequins on cut out fish shapes.
- Purchase some rainbow colored ‘slinkies’ to slink down some stairs or steps.
- Hide crayons of each rainbow color for the children to find. As each crayon is found, color in a previously drawn arc on a big piece of paper. (Children group color parts of the arc) Once the rainbow is complete, everyone could get a treat for great ‘team’ work!
Make or buy a simple piñata and attach rainbow streamers to the bottom of it. Pinata category here...
RAINBOW TAG #1: Great fun for older kids!
Four or more players
Five tongue depressors, each one marked with a color of the rainbow–Water-based face paint crayons in the same rainbow colors-
A pink or rainbow-colored article of clothing
How to Play:
- To prepare, hide each tongue depressor along with the matching color of face paint in a different place around the play area.
- Next, choose someone to be “Pinkie”, the player who sneaks around trying to tag the other players and undo their progress. Give Pinkie something pink or rainbow-colored to wear.
- To play, set everyone but Pinkie out in search of the sticks.
- Each time a player finds one of the colored sticks, he should discreetly — don’t give away the location to the others! — paint a stripe on his face, then leave the stick and paint in place. Bluffing is encouraged to keep the locations secret.
- The catch: Pinkie will be lurking, trying to tag the players. Every time she does, she wipes off one of their stripes.
- The first player to get one stripe in each color wins.
RAINBOW TAG #2
1. Choose a ‘rainbow catcher’. They will stand in the middle of a large play area.
2. Next assign all the remaining players different colors of the rainbow. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. (Don’t let the rainbow catcher hear what colors each person is assigned.)
3.The rainbow catcher then calls out a color. All the players that have been assigned that color try and run past the catcher to the other side of the play area. The ‘rainbow catcher’ tries to tag as many of children as they can before they reach the other side.
4.The kids who are tagged become rainbow catchers and stand in the middle to help tag other players on the next round.
The rainbow catcher can yell “Rainbow!” and all the players must try and reach the other side. The last person caught becomes the new rainbow catcher. If you’re playing with a large group-have more than one ‘catcher’.
POT OF GOLD DRAMA GAME
You say, “If I found a pot of gold at the foot of the rainbow, I’d buy this…” Then you show by acting out what you would buy. The others try to guess what you bought, and the first one to guess becomes the new actor.
Have a TREASURE HUNT and hide the treasure in a POT OF GOLD– to be shared by everyone once all the ‘rainbow themed clues’ have been found.
For young children: Play ‘RAINBOW WALK’ Pary Game
1. Spread out different colored paper circles.
2. Children step on each circle as the music is playing.
3. Once it stops, the child on a certain color can get a prize.
SCIENCE & NATURE…
We see rainbows during rain showers when the sun is shining on raindrops. Rainbows appear in the part of the sky that is opposite of the sun. The closer we are to the rainbow-the brighter it appears, Rainbow colors are always the same in order: Violet, Dark Blue, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red. Everyone who looks at a rainbow sees it differently.
COFEE FILTER RAINBOWS
Learn about: rainbows, light, chromatography, spectrum, and color
The rainbows that we see in the sky are caused by a reflection of the sun’s rays in drops of rain. There are also other ways to view a rainbow with the help of water and a few other supplies.
Black and green water
1. Fold the coffee filter into half.
2. Fold it again one more time.
3. Draw a dark green line about one inch (2-3 cm) from the round edge of the filter. (Be sure to save room for a black line next to it).
4. Proceed to draw a dark black line one inch (2-3 cm) from the other side of the round edge. (Do not let the lines touch each other).
5. Make the filter into a cone shape by securing the edge of the paper filter with the paper clip.
6. Place water in the saucer.
7. Put the round edge of the filter in the water.
8. Let the filter stay in this position for one hour and then observe the results.
9. Now, explore! Pay close attention to what happens to the dark green line. Record your observations and explain what you think is happening during this experiment.
CATCHING AN INDOOR RAINBOW
Clear glass or medium sized clear jar filled with water to the top
White paper, watercolor paints or crayons.
1. Fill a glass or clear jar with water to the top.
2. Set glass/jar on window sill in bright sunlight.
3. Glass or jar should stick out over the ledge just a little bit.
4. Place a white piece of paper on the floor in front of the window (tape 2 or 3 pieces to form a poster size and obtain a bigger rainbow image).
5. A rainbow will be captured/reflected on the paper. This will greatly depend on how bright the sunlight is and the positioning of the glass jar, so move the jar side to side on the window sill to help the process until you see the rainbow reflected on the paper.
6. Quickly draw lines to capture the rainbow and children can paint directly on the paper in the floor as the rainbow is reflected there.
AN INDOOR RAINBOW
1. To create an indoor rainbow fill a glass pan with water and place a mirror in the water so that it is leaning against the edge of the pan.
2. Completely darken the room and shine a flashlight on the mirror.
3. Carefully adjust the angle of the light until a rainbow is reflected on a wall or the ceiling.
4. You can then give children with paper and art supplies to copy
the order of the colors of the rainbow…
PLANT A RAINBOW
You can grow a blooming rainbow by planting curved rows of different-colored flowers. For the best effect, use plants that have similar heights.
EASY RAINBOW ART/CRAFT IDEAS
WATER COLOR GIANT RAINBOW
Make a giant rainbpw by painting a large sheet of paper with water; Add big arcs of color (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet). The colors will slowly blend into each other.
1. Remove the wrappers from rainbow-colored crayons: Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.
2. Have children use the sides of the crayons to draw rainbow arcs on paper.
3. If the weather is good, invite them to make rainbows on a sidewalk with colored chalk.
TAPE SIX DIFFERENT CRAYONS in a straight line. Show children how to draw a rainbow with one stroke.
FRUIT CEREAL RAINBOWS
FIRST IMAGE-you will need: Fruit cereal, glue, paper, cotton balls and markers.
Glue rainbow colored ‘froot-loop’ type cereal on construction paper in the SHAPE OF A RAINBOW! When complete add the cotton clouds and a sun.
Glue the cereal onto the paper to make the rainbow colors.
The placement order for the rainbow is red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. Rainbow is by Ms. Edith/Kansas City Public Library
PAPER AND YARN RAINBOW (For younger children)
Butcher paper (Roll paper), several different colors of yarn, construction paper that matches yarn colors, glue, crayons (Optional).
On pieces of butcher paper, draw arched lines to represent rainbows.
- Put glue on the rainbow lines and have children place a piece of different colored yarn along the entire length of each line.
- Have the children tear the colored paper into pieces, one color at a time. Then have them glue the torn paper onto the area between the pieces of yarn, under the yarn for that color.
- Encourage children to fill the entire space with the appropriate colored paper pieces.
- You may want to color a portion of each space with a crayon to help.
RAINBOW ART COLLAGE
Using rainbow shaped paper and rainbow colored yarn, the children can make rainbow yarn collages.
SUMMER RAINBOW: This activity is appropriate for 5-8 years year old
You will need:
- Washable watercolor
- Art Tissue paper
- Construction paper – 9″ x 12″
- Cotton balls
- Ribbon & Yarn
- Hole punch
- A rainbow template (Pre- make one)
1. Using the templates, trace and cut out one rainbow and 2 clouds.
2. Have children decorate both sides of the rainbow with watercolors. …..Set aside to dry.
3. Glue the clouds to each end of the rainbow.
4. Cut brightly colored tissue paper into 1/2″ strips.
5. Have the children glue the tissue paper strips to the clouds.
6. Glue cotton balls onto the clouds.
7. Attach yarn to the top of the rainbow to hang and display.
- Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple crepe paper streamers
- A paper plate for each child
1. Cut the center out of a paper plate.
2. Cut long pieces of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple crepe paper streamers; each streamer should be about two to three feet long.
3. Staple a rainbow of streamers onto the paper plate.
RAINBOW, CLOUDS, RAIN
9″ paper plate
2 squares of tissue paper in each color: pink, peach, light yellow, lime, light blue and lavender
6 cotton balls
Christmas tree icicles
Fishing line or yarn
Needle or hole punch
1. Cut a paper plate in half. Cut an arc from one half of the plate..
2. Cut tissue paper into 2″ squares from the rainbow colors. You may use either pastels or a variation would be to use bright colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple). Each color takes approximately 30 squares to completely cover a row.
3. Roll each square into a ball or pinch the enter of the square and gather the tissue into a point and glue to the arc. Keep each color in its own row.
4. For the rain, tape Christmas tree icicles at the bottom back of the rainbow
5. For clouds, glue cotton balls or fiberfill to each end of the rainbow.
6. To make the hanger use a hole punch at the top of the rainbow and thread yarn through it. If you use fishing line, use a needle to thread it through. By Ms. Brenda and Edith Kansas City Public Library
RAINBOW FROM BUTTONS
Heavy weight colored paper
Rainbow colored paint
Arrange buttons on the paper in the shape of a rainbow and then paint the buttons in broad stripes of color with the paints. Let buttons dry to have a nice button rainbow.
COLORED PASTA RAINBOWS
Dye stringable pasta in batches of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.
Have children use the pieces for:
#1. GLUE ON white paper to make a rainbow… or
#2. STRING ON very long yarn in batches of colors…
For younger children: Sort and count the pasta pieces by color.
Place or glue the pieces on matching colored paper.
How to color pasta directions are in the Paint and Color Recipe Category
SONGS ABOUT RAINBOWS
- The Rainbow Connection by Paul WIlliams and Kenneth Ascher and featured in the first Muppet Movie. Sung by Kermit the Frog.
- Over the Rainbow from The Wizard of Oz.
- I Can Sing a Rainbow: A children’s song used to teach them the names of the colors.
- Look to the Rainbow from Finian’s Rainbow.
- I’m Always Chasing Rainbows a song adapted from a Chopin Prelude
Teach the the colors of the rainbow while making and eating delicious snacks!
1. Make vanilla pudding.
2. Place portions of pudding in 3 containers.
3 Add food coloring and make one red, one blue, and one yellow.
4. Have the children mix the colors to see what other colors they create.
Another variation is to add some colored fruited ring cereal to your pudding.
Simply eat colored fruit ring cereal.
MAKE RAINBOW PANCAKES
This idea originated with Amanda Rettke at IamMommy…Wonderful fun!!!
Pancake Batter (mix or homemade) and food coloring
In one large bowl, make pancake batter following recipe directions.
Separate the batter equally into several smaller bowls.
Add one color to each bowl.
Make pancakes as usual…that’s it! This is another one your kids will always remember you for!
RAINBOW BRACELET OR NECKLACE (Craft & Snack)
1. Take a piece of yarn or long licorice string candy (as in image to the left) to go around child’s neck or wrist.
2. Let children string the colored fruit ring cereal on it. (You might need to tie one at the end for pre-k children so it doesn’t fall off.)
3. Tie it off when you are done. Enjoy eating it! (Image by KidActivities.net)
RAINBOW RICE KRISPY SNACKS
Make Rice Cereal Treats (Rice Krispy treats) and color it with your favorite food coloring (or use two or more colors).
Eat colored marshmallows or add to Jello or pudding…use as decorations on frosted cupcakes or cookies.
RAINBOW GRAHAM CRACKERS
Spread frosting on a graham cracker. Sprinkle on colored sugar… All kinds of rainbow frosted cookies.
8 cups popped popcorn
1 cup peanuts (if no allergies)
1/4 cup butter or margarine
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar or granulated sugar
1 (3 1/2 ounce) package Jello gelatin, any flavor
1. Heat oven to 300°F Line a 15x10x1-inch pan with foil or parchment paper.
2. Place popcorn and nuts in large bowl.
3. Heat butter and syrup in small saucepan on low heat.
4. Stir in sugar and gelatin.
5. Bring to boil on medium heat.
6. Reduce heat to low; gently simmer 5 minutes.
7. Pour syrup immediately over popcorn, tossing to coat well.
8. Spread popcorn in prepared pan, using two forks to spread evenly.
9. Bake 10 minutes.
11. Remove from pan and break into small pieces.
6 1/4 c Boiling water
2 Jello(red); 4 serving size
2 Jello(Orange); 4 serving
2 Jello(Lemon); 4 serving
2 Jello(Lime); 4 serving
2 Jello(Berry Blue); 4 serving
8 oz Cool whip
1. Stir 1 1/4 cups boiling water into each flavor of gelatin in separate bowls until completely dissolved.
2. Pour each flavor into separate 8 or 9″ square pans.
3. Refrigerate 3 hours or until firm.
4. Cut each pan into 1″ cubes.
5. Arrange rows of different color gelatin cubes to form a rainbow on a large flat tray or cookie sheet.
6. Place 1/2 of the cool whip at each end of the rainbow to form clouds for dipping.
7. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
You can also make ‘RAINBOW JELL-O’ by setting each layer before adding the next layer. Use a glass bowl or set in clear plastic cups so that the colors show through.
Carefully cut arcs out of a round cake; reassemble and frost in each color of the rainbow.
RAINBOW CANDY: Jelly beans, Skittles, M&Ms in glass dishes; Rainbow striped lollipops/suckers. Also COTTON CANDY (Clouds)
CUPCAKES iced/frosted in different colors and topped with colored sprinkles.
FRUIT SALAD…Containing as many colors of the rainbow as possible…OR…RAINBOW MOUNTAIN OF FRUIT
Red watermelon and cherries
Orange cantaloupe and mandarin oranges
Yellow apples and bananas
Green honeydew melon
Purple plums and nectarines
Optional: Chopped nuts of choice…
Cut all pieces of fruit into small pieces. Put out in bowls and children can choose what they like (give instructions as to HOW MUCH they can take) Mound on plates to make a tall mountains. Top with yogurt. Sprinkle with nuts.
RAINBOW FRUIT KABOBS
Place bite-sized fruit on a kabob to look like a rainbow – Strawberries (red,) Oranges (orange, Pineapple pieces (yellow), Kiwi slices (green), Blueberries (blue), Grapes (purple)
3 different colors of Candy Melts (Purchased at candy supply or craft store)
Pretzel rods or shapes
1. Melt the candy.
2. Using a teaspoon, swirl the colors onto the pretzel rods or shapes–until you achieve your desired ‘rainbow’ result.
3. Sprinkle on rainbow jimmies before the candy melts dry.
Note: Even though the melts will be pastel colors of pink, blue, green or yellow -the flavors will all be vanilla.
IDEA: Cut SANDWICHES into rainbow shaped arcs.
IDEA: Make ICE CUBES of different colored fruit juice — place them in clear colored drinks.
IDEAS: MAKE KOOL-AID OR SPRITE (with a little food coloring) in the primary colors of red, yellow and blue in three separate pitchers. With these colors you can mix drinks for kids in any color of the rainbow.
NOTE: Green = yellow + blue, Orange = red + yellow, Purple = blue + red.
RAINBOW COLORED TOAST
A craft and snack in one!
Milk and Butter
Optional: Cinnamon sugar
Also-Small bowls or paper cups, thin brushes or Q-Tips
1.Depending on group size-As a guide, fill bowls with about 3 ounces of milk and add 2 to 3 drops of food coloring.
2. Have children paint the toast. (Remind them NOT to soak the bread)
3. Toast in toaster or toaster oven.
4. Butter and sprinkle cinnamon if desired.
For young kids, explain that this is safe to eat because it is NOT real paint! Also, for theme days, you can cut the bread with cookie-cutter shapes before it is painted and toasted.
This RAINBOW DOORWAY would be a great decoration for a party–or as Katey Magill wrote at HavingFunatHome… “It’s nobody’s birthday, but we got out the streamers anyway- just for fun.”
Kids love spontaneous fun days at school, day-care or home! Pick a theme and go with it…just for fun! Your children will love you for it!
RAINBOW PARTY FAVORS
- Large suckers
- Rainbow colored pinwheels
- Crayons or paint sets
- Bagged cotton candy (clouds)
RAINBOW GOODY BAG IDEAS: Put prizes in…
- Solid color bags in all the colors of the rainbow – tie a pretty rainbow ribbon on the top.
- Small black pot or container to represent the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
- Tie party favors up in solid or rainbow colored bandanas or squares of fabric.
Click here for Rain and Cloud Theme Ideas …