There are three obvious directions to go with the idea of rainbows: weather, colors, or the symbolism of rainbows as signs of good fortune.
Rainbow colors classroom ideas
Use rainbows to look at colors with a bright classroom theme:
- Rainbow of Possibilities
- Fadeless Rainbow bulletin board paper
- Garden Mama’s Waldorf Star is a great way to work with the colors of the rainbow and add snazziness to your classroom at the same time.
- Crayola has some projects that look at the way white light can be divided up into the spectrum of colors by prisms, including natural prisms like soap bubbles.
- Use clay or cookie dough colored with food coloring to make rainbows. Give each student a few colors and have them roll snakes of each color, stack them, and form the rainbow’s arc. If you use cookie dough, bake and eat them. Using all the colors of the rainbow makes this difficult, so use three or four colors, but be sure to discuss how your rainbows differ from real ones.
- Practice mixing the primary colors (red, blue and yellow) into other colors, using paints.
- Learn to sing What a Wonderful World by George Weiss and Bob Thiele or “I Can Sing a Rainbow” by Arthur Hamilton.
Rainbow weather classroom ideas
- Use a prism to demonstrate how ordinary white light gets split up into multiple colors when light is diffracted. When rain is falling in one part of the sky and the sun is shining in another, people who have rain between themselves and the sun will see the sun’s light split up by the rain, producing a rainbow. The rainbow in the picture at the top of this page may even have been produced by the spray in the air, rather than by rain. Discuss this with students. Can they see why rainbows are likely to show up at the end of a rain shower?
- Try the Cloud in a Jar experiment to create some rain.
- Make your own classroom weather station.
Rainbow symbolism classroom ideas
- Dress up your classroom with any of the rainbows discussed above, and use slogans like “Our future’s so bright…” or have students write out their goals or dreams for the future to add to the rainbow.
- Read Genesis 9:8-17 if your school and community will be comfortable with doing so, to find one possible source of the idea of rainbows as lucky signs. Another might be the fact that rainbows show after rain storms. A third possibility is that leprechauns keep their pots of gold at the end of the rainbow. However, in this case the end of a rainbow is simply a place that is impossible to reach, so a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is one that can never be found — how lucky is that?
- Learn Somewhere Over the Rainbow, from the movie The Wizard of Oz .
Don’t forget Rainbow Fish, a nice book for preschool that focuses on sharing. True, it has nothing to do with rainbows, but it’s a nice book.