10 Fascinating Rainbow Facts and Activities for Kids
Rainbows are one of the most beautiful and magical things we can spot in nature. As children, it was something that would fascinate us to no end to look at the pretty colours. There are many stories about the rainbow, but science has been able to break it down for us, making it easy to understand what exactly a rainbow is. If you want to teach your kids all about the rainbow, you should read through this article.
What Is a Rainbow?
A rainbow is a special phenomenon that occurs in nature when it is rainy on one side, but sunny on the other. It consists of an arc that forms in the sky of seven colours, namely Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange and Red, also called VIBGYOR for short. When sunlight is dispersed through the raindrops, the rainbow appears.
How Are Rainbows Formed?
An easy explanation of the rainbow formation for kids is that the light that we see each day is sunlight, a white light that comes to us from the sun. White light is made up of the different colours that we see in the rainbow, but when the light is all travelling in one direction, it looks white.
During the rains, however, millions of raindrops cause the colours in the white light to separate and refract through them. Each raindrop actually makes its own rainbow, but when there are so many raindrops at the same time, the rainbows become big enough for us to see with the naked eye.
Interesting Facts About Rainbows
Here are some interesting facts about rainbows for kids:
- The angle that light should be refracted at for us to be able to see a rainbow with the naked eye is 42 degrees.
- Both the sun and rain need to be present for a rainbow to form.
- Sir Isaac Newton was the one who discovered that there were seven different colours in the rainbow.
- This colourful natural phenomenon is only observed when it rains; moreover, it is shaped like an arc, similar to an archer’s bow. This is the reason we call it a ‘rainbow’.
- There are times when one raindrop reflects sunlight twice. In these cases, a secondary rainbow is formed. These rainbows are an inverted version of the primary or original rainbow, and violet is the outermost colour to be seen, rather than the usual red.
- There is a type of rainbow that can even be formed at night. This is called a ‘moonbow’, and it is a very rare sighting. This is because moonlight is not as bright as sunlight, so despite it reflecting light in the same way, it is often not enough to cause the different colours to become visible to us. Another reason is also that it is too dark to notice the moonbow.
- From the ground, a rainbow often looks like an arc or a semi-circle at the most; but when seen from a great height, the rainbow has been discovered to be circular in shape.
- You can never reach the end of a rainbow as it moves along with you.
Fun Rainbow Activities for Kids
Here are some fun activities and games that you can involve your kids in:
1. Coffee Filter Rainbow Craft
If you have young children and are spending the day indoors, this is a great activity for you.
What You Need
- Coffee filter paper – 1
- Chart paper
- Glue stick
- Cotton balls
How To Do:
- Cut out the bottom quarter of the coffee filter paper so that it is level.
- Starting from the centre, cut out a small semi-circle. The aim is to shape the coffee filter paper like a rainbow.
- Stick the rainbow shaped coffee filter onto the blue chart paper.
- Teach your kids all about the colours of the rainbow by showing them what colour to use and where.
- Once they are done colouring their rainbows, stick cotton balls onto the bottom of the rainbow.
- Draw a few simple clouds with white crayon or pencil in the background.
2. Rainbow Tag
Of all the rainbow games for kids, this is a fun game to play if you have a large group.
What You Need
- A large play area
How To Do:
- Pick a child to be the ‘Rainbow Catcher’.
- Assign a colour to each of the ‘Rainbow Kids’.
- The Rainbow Kids line up on one side of the play area, and the Rainbow Catcher stands in the middle of it.
- The Rainbow Catcher will then yell out a colour, and whichever of the Rainbow Kids has been assigned that colour has to run to the other side of the play area, passing the Rainbow Catcher to get there.
- The Rainbow Catcher must try and tag as many Rainbow Kids as he can.
- Once tagged, the Rainbow Kids become Rainbow Catchers and must help the main Rainbow Catcher tag the rest of the Rainbow Kids.
- The last Rainbow Kid standing will get to be the Rainbow Catcher in the next round.
3. Rainbow Coloured Crayons Hunt
This is a fun game you can play with your kids to teach them the meaning of teamwork as well as to teach the correct colours of the rainbow and their positions.
What You Need:
- A big outline of a rainbow to be coloured in by the kids
How To Do:
- Hide the crayons and ask your kids to find the crayons which are the colours of the rainbow.
- Once the correct colours have been assembled, the children will need to colour in the outline of the rainbow with them, but in the correct places, so be sure to be there with clues and guidance.
4. DIY Rainbow
Here is how to make a rainbow for kids.
What You Need:
- Glass pan
- Small mirror
How To Do:
- Fill water in the glass pan and then place the mirror inside.
- Lean it against the side of the pan.
- See that the room is completely dark before you shine the torchlight onto the mirror.
- You might have to make some adjustments to find the angle that the light reflects off the mirror, but you should be able to produce a rainbow either on the wall or the ceiling.
- Let the kids take turns at making the rainbow.
Rainbows will always be looked at with awe, wonder and excitement, so teaching your child everything there is to know about it is a great way of expanding their general knowledge.
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