There is an updated version of this post at: https://inventorsoftomorrow.com/2017/01/17/rainbow-science-for-kids/
At today’s Family Inventors Lab, our theme was Rainbows.
We had a painting of a rainbow on the wall, then had a black and white line drawing of a rainbow below that they painted in to match the one on the top. (We had two siblings who were really dedicated to getting this project done right.)
We “made it rain” by filling cups of water, spraying shaving cream on top, and using pipettes to drip liquid watercolor onto the shaving cream clouds. It drips through, creating colorful rainfall below. I failed to take pictures, but here’s some from Pinterest… check out the original posts here, here and here for more ideas for activities, and thoughts on talking to kids about the science of rain
We also used pipettes to drip liquid watercolor onto coffee filters, which creates some beautiful color mixing. If you want to take this one step further at home, they can be turned into butterfly decorations with a clothespin and a pipe cleaner. (Source for idea)
We had a light table with lots of colorful objects on it, rainbow crayons, rainbow colored blocks, a rainbow colored tumbling mat with colored hoops to jump into for some big motor play, and color your own playdough. (This was not quite successful – our colors were too wet and made the playdough too wet to handle… we’ll be tinkering with this activity to get it right in the future!) We had blocks of ice that they could sprinkle salt onto and pour water onto, and drip liquid watercolor on to help it melt.
We had diffraction grating peepholes. (When you hold these up to your eye, then look at a light, the light is broken up into rainbows. Different lights produce different patterns… when I look at my ceiling light at home, I see circular rainbows, when I look at the LED flashlight on my cell phone, I see six rays of rainbows radiating out.) We had crayons and paper out so the kids could draw what they saw. (If you want to learn more about how prisms separate “white” light into colors, watch this video. Here’s a simple, low equipment experiment to do with your child. And here‘s more activities and a little info about Inventor Isaac Newton and his discovery that light is made up of 7 colors.)
The books we read in opening circle were:
Other books we used/had available:
- Who Likes the Rain by Etta Kaner
- What is the Water Cycle by Ellen Lawrence
- A Rainbow of My Own by Don Freeman
We sang a few rain and rainbow songs, including a spontaneous sing-a-long of Rainbow Connection after one of the parents suggested it. (Check out the classic video here.)
We always have more ideas than we have time and space for, but if you’d like more ideas for rainbow-themed activities, look on our Pinterest page: https://www.pinterest.com/bcparented/rain-and-rainbows/