For some reason St. Patrick's Day and leprechauns always get me thinking about rainbows. Perhaps it's the illusive pot o' gold at the end of the rainbow or maybe it's all of the Springlike colors that I am so ready for after this cold, gray Winter. Whatever the reason, making rainbows is a great way to get your kiddies thinking about colors and all things Spring.
For this rainbow we used cereal, but I've also seen rainbows made of tissue paper, torn construction paper, and paint. I like the idea of cereal for several reasons: 1) you can sort it by colors, 2) picking up little pieces builds fine motor skills, 3) it creates a neat 3-D picture, and 4) you can snack while you create. Okay, so maybe 4 is not a very good reason, especially if you buy the cereal I bought. I think the number one ingredient is sugar, but an occasional indulgence won't hurt. I certainly don't buy sugary cereal very often; however, I do sometimes throw it into a homemade snack mix or sprinkle it on plain Cheerios to spice--er sweeten things up a bit.
To create this project with your little ones you will need:
- Fruity O's cereal like Froot Loops (I bought store brand because it was cheapest)
- Wet glue
- 6 small cups or an empty egg carton for sorting
- Cotton Balls
- Black Marker for drawing picture outline (especially for younger kids)
- Blue construction paper or Tag Board
First, I drew a very basic rainbow outline with a small circle in the corner for a sun. The rainbow outline does not have to be perfect, mine was actually a far cry from perfect, because it is going to be covered with glue and cereal. It really just serves as a guide so that your little one will keep the rainbow shape.
Next, I poured a small pile of cereal out onto a paper plate and placed the 6 small cups on the table. I used empty fruit/applesauce cups that I keep around for just this sort of project. I told my four year old son and two year old daughter that we had to sort the cereal by color and showed them how to put the red o's in one cup, the orange in another, and so on. My daughter is learning her colors now and is pretty solid on blue, orange and red, so if it was another color like green I would tell her the color and ask her to put it with the others that were the same color. She actually did a pretty good job. For my son, this was a really easy task. The actual hard part was trying to get them to sort the cereal and not eat it all. My recommendation is to complete this project after a full meal, just kidding, or maybe not.
After sorting we were ready for gluing. We talked about rainbows and what colors we see in rainbows. We also sang "The Rainbow Song" which is a little tune I remember my little brother singing in preschool (so random I know). It has it's own tune and the words are "Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple. Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple. Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple. These are the colors of the rainbow." Then we talked about what color you see first in a rainbow: Red. I made an arched line of glue and told my son to start with red.
I'm not really sure why, but he started on the left, moved to filling in from the right, then went to the middle of the arch. I helped my daughter work on one too, but she gave up about halfway through the row and then kept eating and sorting the cereal into cups.
After gluing the red arch, my son glued orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. He would stop and sing the song in between colors to remember what came next.
After we finished gluing all of the rows I let my son put some glue on the paper to glue cotton balls to the bottom bands of the rainbow for clouds.
To finish the picture, I put glue inside the sun circle and my son added yellow o's to make a sun. You could also use torn tissue or construction paper for this for a different texture or material.
And here's our finished rainbow.
This colorful project will certainly have your little one ready to cast those snow boots aside for sunny days. Go ahead outside and go on a rainbow hunt. Who knows maybe you'll catch yourself a leprechaun or maybe even find a pot o' gold!