Teach children how rainbows are made with these super fun book inspired rainbow science and STEAM activities for Kids.
My daughter loves the book “A Rainbow of My Own” by Don Freeman. A book about a young boy that would like to have a rainbow of his own.
Every time we read it my daughter loves to make a rainbow of her own. Since we read this book a lot, we have had the opportunity to have a lot of fun finding new ways to make rainbows together.
This post contains a few of our favorite ways to create, learn about, and play with rainbows.
Related: Rainbow Rainy Day Art
Book Inspired Rainbow Science for Kids
This post is inspired by the children’s story “A Rainbow of My Own” by Don Freeman. A book about a young boy that would like to have a rainbow of his own to play with.
When the little boy runs outside to catch the rainbow that he sees from his window, it disappears. He then imagines that one follows him and wants to play–but it too disappears when the sun comes out!
When the boy returns home he is surprised to find a rainbow dancing on his bedroom wall. Upon seeing it he exclaims, “…a rainbow just for me–a rainbow of my very own!”
Related: Rainbow Window Star
The Science of Rainbows
My daughter and I began by exploring the science of rainbows.
To see a rainbow you need two things. First, it must be raining in the distance and sunny at the same time. Next, you need to turn your back to the sun and look towards the rain to see a rainbow.
A rainbow appears when raindrops refract or bend light so we can see the rainbow of colors that are naturally contained within the sun’s white light. This is why we see a rainbow in the sky when we look towards the rain with our backs to the sun.
A brilliant illustration of this can be found in the book, “Where Do They Go When it Rains.” Another one of my daughter’s favorite books.
Related: Rock Balancing Stone Stacking Art
Rainbow Science Prism Play
We began our rainbow exploration by playing with different types of prisms to see the different types of rainbows we could make dance on the wall.
When my daughter was a small baby I would spin the prisms in our windows when the sunlight hit them to make rainbows dance on our walls. It would make her squeal with joy so I did every time the rainbows appeared.
Imagine my pain when she began to cry her eyes out wanting me to make them dance when there was no sunlight… Talk about a parenting nightmare!
This mom understood what she wanted and used a flashlight to make rainbows for her with the prism. It worked a lot better than trying to explain why the rainbows would not appear without the sun to a baby.
Now that my daughter is older, she is able to understand why mommy had to go get the flashlight.
When natural or artificial light is directed at a prism it will bend or refract the light to make a rainbow the same way that a raindrop does when a light source is placed behind it. If there is no light source there will be no rainbow. The same is true of a rainy day.
Different prism shapes and cuts will produce different rainbow patterns on the wall. You can see a few photos of our prism play below.
Fun Prisms Children Can Play with to Make Rainbows:
- 6″ Crystal Optical Glass Triangular Prism for Teaching Light Spectrum
- Large Chrystal Ball Prism
- 7 Piece Educational Acrylic Lens and Prism Set
Related: Super Fun Kids Activities
What is STEAM?
STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math.
Projects must contain at least two of the disciplines to be considered a STEAM activity. STEM education can help children begin to think deeply and make connections between subjects so that they can become the researchers, innovators, and leaders of tomorrow. STEAM takes STEM to the next level by including the arts.
The easiest way to engage children in ways that will keep their attention is to make it learning activities fun and interesting. The inclusion of the arts in STEAM education does this for many children. Using book inspired activities is yet another way to keep kids engaged and make learning more fun.
Maybe we should call book inspired STEAM activities STREAM activities with reading added into the mix. Talk about taking STEM activities to a whole new level! Adding multiple learning disciplines into the mix will allow the student to make new connections and reach a greater understanding of the subject matter.
For more information about STEAM check out the amazing books for kids below!
Book Inspired Rainbow STEAM activities for Kids
To make prism play a STEAM activity we decided to make a rainbow pony bead prism suncatcher. A beautiful work of art that takes basic engineering and math skills to put together.
It can be hung in your child’s bedroom window as a constant reminder of how rainbows are made as it shines rainbow science all over the room!
The Bonus? Your child will have ‘a rainbow of their own‘ to hang in their window!
Left Brain Craft Brain has another way to turn prism play into a STEAM activity. Find out how she and her daughter made chalk art with prisms HERE.
The Pinterested Parent and her daughter completed a similar rainbow STEAM activity using the reflections of a CD and paint. Learn more about what they did and how they did it HERE.
Book inspired rainbow science STEAM activities for kids make learning about rainbows and how they form fun!
These rainbow STEAM homeschool activities are inspired by the book, “A Rainbow of My Own.” Increase understanding by creating art and crafts that contain elements of math, engineering, and or technology.
Related: Easy Rainbow Art Projects Kids LOVE!
If You Liked Rainbow Science for kids, You may also like:
Another fun rainbow STEAM activity for kids is Rainbow Rainy Day Art. Kids love to draw with a rainbow of colors and watch how quickly their drawings are transformed by the rain. Creating art with rain and washable markers is another way the rain can make a rainbow!
Learn more about Rhythms of Play HERE!
This post is a part of the 28-Days of STEAM blog hop. To see all of the other amazing STEAM activities click on the link!
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Nell has over 20 years of experience working with children and is the founder of Rhythms of Play. She believes in the wonder of childhood, the power of the imagination, learning through play, and getting outside in all seasons! Learn more…