Who isn’t struck by a sense of awe at the magical site of a rainbow appearing in the sky? Kids love anything to do with rainbows, and learning all the rainbow colours. And that moment when a colorful rainbow appears in the sky is always met with squeals of delight! We’ve had a lot of fun over the years doing activities inspired by rainbow colours. It always makes for a gorgeous activity kids love. Check out this list of rainbow science experiments and activities.
Rainbow Science and Activities
From a very young age, children love learning about rainbow colours and the order of the colours. The first acronym I learned was ROY G BIV (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet), and I would proudly proclaim it to the world whenever a rainbow would appear in the sky!
Rainbows are this magical creation that can appear suddenly in the skies, and fade away just as rapidly. Children love the idea of chasing the ends of the rainbows, as if the rainbow colours hold treasures and surprises from their wildest dreams.
The Science of Rainbows
Rainbows also have some fascinating science behind them. Have you ever noticed how rainbows form when the sun pops out after it’s been raining? It’s the water molecules in the air refracting, reflecting and dispersing the sunlight that causes the rainbow to appear.
Sunlight enters the raindrop where the light bends or refracts, then as it leaves the raindrop it separates into various wavelengths. These different wavelengths produce the different colours of the rainbow. There is a great article that goes even more in to the science of rainbows here.
That’s why rainbows will only appear opposite from the sun in the sky. If you want to see a rainbow, make sure your back is towards the sun and face the rain clouds.
We live far enough North that we also get Sundogs regularly. This is a rainbow that forms as a circle around the sun, instead of the normal arch most people associate with a rainbow. Sundogs are caused by ice crystals (frozen water molecules) in the air refracting the light.
Pretty cool, eh? It’s no wonder kids find anything to do with rainbows utterly fascinating! With that in mind I gathered up some really fun, exciting and educational activities and science experiments to do with your kids that involve rainbows!
Rainbow Water Beads Science
Make a beautiful rainbow in a jar with these easy Water Beads science experiment. This Rainbow Water Beads experiment is easily scaled for classroom use or at home.
Magic Milk is a fantastic and easy experiment that creates and explosion of colour! Simply line up your food dye following the colours of the rainbow (ROY G BIV) and watch the magic unfold!
Make it rain rainbows with this stunning, yet simple, shaving cream cloud experiment. Discuss how the water cycle works and the mechanism of rain as you watch the gorgous rainbow colours fall from your clouds in a spectacular display.
This is a beautiful experiment with the most beautiful colours. We decided to do a Starry Night inspired Skittles Experiment, but one of our first times doing it, we did the colours of the rainbow. Simply line up your Skittles around the plate in order of the colours of the rainbow. Add your water and watch your rainbow flow across the plate.
This STEM activity challenges kids to build a strong and beautiful rainbow bridge out of either craft sticks, pipe cleaners or paper. A fantastic project for Spring, St. Patrick’s Day, a Viking Unit study or even a Space Study of the Milky Way. Students will love this Rainbow Bridge STEM Challenge.
I think all teachers and parents have a bucket full of broken crayons kicking around. Turn them into a beautiful candle with this Crayon Candle project.
Rainbow Salt Circuit
We love this activity so much we have recreated it a number of different ways, including a glowing version. But this one is so beautiful with all the colours of the rainbow and the magical way it lights the LED. Check out our Rainbow Salt Circuit.
Walking Rainbow Experiment
I think everyone has done the Walking Rainbow experiment, which makes it even funnier that we completely botched it the first time! It ended up being a very beautiful lesson in how mistakes can lead to amazing discoveries. Plus, we did eventually figure out how to get our rainbow walking!
Explore density with this sweet, and gorgeous, density layers experiment using lollipops. If you don’t have lollipops in all the right colours, you can substitute hard candies. The kids loved moving the bottle around and watching those layers! Warning, this experiment smells sooooo sweet!
There is something so special and so beautiful about the way a crystal rainbow sparkles. Kids LOVE doing this simple experiment and the results are stunning.
Erupting Rainbow rocks
These look very uninteresting, until you trigger the chemical reaction and reveal a hidden rainbow inside. Kids will gasp in surprise and joy with this brilliant and easy, erupting chemistry experiment.
Create a beautiful soap that will have kids reciting all the colours of the rainbow every time they wash their hands. Soap making is an easy craft with zero waste. Check out our Rainbow Soap Recipe.
Rainbow Bath Bombs
I love the colours in these rainbow bath bombs. Sure we could have gone more vibrant, but I think the ethereal feel of the softer colours makes it feel like we plucked a rainbow right out of the sky.
Rainbow Dragon’s Egg Gummies
Have you ever made homemade gummies? It is incredibly easy to do, and the homemade ones taste amazing! It’s a little more tricky to create these layered rainbow gummies, but the results are sure to be a huge hit!
This delicious and simple rainbow fudge recipe looks stunning and tastes even better. An amazing treat to add to the table of any magical, rainbow party.
Coloured with Kool Aid, this playdough recipe has incredibly vibrant colours and smells absolutely amazing! Older kids can help make the playdough, but all kids will love building, creating and exploring with this gorgeous playdough.