Our “Rainbow Week”

I looove O’s Preschool…it’s fantastic how the teachers introduce a new theme each week and that theme is carried out in all aspects of the child’s school day; in the decorations, the circle time book & discussion, the puzzles, the dress up clothes, the sensory table, the playdough manipulatives, the art projects and even the cooking projects. I didn’t really realize how much I appreciated all of this until her first school year was drawing to an end.

Soon after, I thought it would be fun to pick a theme of our own and spend a week or so exploring it through a few different mediums. Here are some of the ideas we played with (many of them were discovered on Pinterest and can be seen here. There were so many wonderful ideas that we certainly didn’t get to (I personally love the idea of all-natural rainbow pancakes, for instance), but it was nice not to force things…just to do the activities that the kids had interest in and to keep an eye out for rainbows (we did see one!)…

I ordered these books on Amazon and truly love all three. They are great additions to our growing “science/experiment” library as I like to call it (basically, books that sort of lead easily into science discussions or simple experiments in the kitchen, in Nature, or at the craft table)…

Rainbow books

Eating the Alphabet” is beautiful and fun to read. I just made a point to grab some of the fruits and veggies we had in the fridge to show O & Z as we read along. I think it would be fun to have the kids do a cooking project related to this book as well.

End of the Rainbow Fruit Salad” is so clever! I love this idea…It is basically an illustrated recipe book with colorful pages and large numbers, making it easy for early counters to follow along. We haven’t made the fruit salad yet, but will have to give that a try sometime soon. (Note: They also have a Veggie Soup book!)

My favorite by far was the book, “Planting a Rainbow“, by Lois Ehlert. Both kids (ages 3.5 and 1.5) sat attentively for this book, mesmerized by the beautiful, cheerful illustrations and the cut-away pages towards the end that really help a child to visualize the order of the rainbow colors. This book led to this activity, age-appropriate for BOTH kids (something Moms everywhere can appreciate, I’m sure)…

tissue paper gardensMaterials for this project are simply a roll of contact paper, painter’s tape, and some recycled tissue paper in a variety of colors. We started out making flowers, but it eventually ended in a celebratory confetti party, with two squealing, happy kiddoes…

O tissue paper

By the way, my camera BROKE for the first time in 4 years this week, so many of these pictures were taken on my iPad or iPhone…As O would say, “That’s okay!”. 

Misc

I drew a simple rainbow on a large piece of paper and left it on the table with some other pieces of paper and a box of markers, sort of as an open invitation to create. I was so excited when O used markers to copy the rainbow. At 3.5 years old, she does not yet draw many intentional objects – they are usually much more abstract. I hung her drawing on the wall so that we could easily talk about the order of the colors in the rainbow, etc. 

Later, we took my drawing and others outside with finger paints and she painted over my rainbow which I thought was cool. Meanwhile, 1.5 year-old Z had a blast finger-painting his body…messy!
rainbow artwork

For a very short but cool activity (this was awesome while I was trying to prep some food in the kitchen, for instance)… I put out a few balls of playdough and some colored pipe cleaners and did a little demo of how they could make rainbows, before stepping away. I think Mr. Z loves working with play dough and salt dough the most (future potter, perhaps??)…

rainbow crafts

And, this is where I was kind of disappointed about my camera being out of commission…We made this rainbow glitter salt-dough and it was SO pretty! I mean, I feel a tad silly saying it, but I kind of wanted to photograph it even before we built with it…it was just so vibrant and glittery. 

I do have one thing to add…The author of the recipe for this dough does say that you should be careful not to add too much water. I definitely added just the teeniest bit too much water to a few of these colors and they were noticeably stickier and not as fun to work with. So, I’d say, for what it’s worth, start with her original measurements or even start with a little less water than is called for and see how that goes before adding more. I think, when it comes to salt dough, that crumbly is the lesser of two “evils”, so when in doubt, use less water.

salt dough magnetsZs Star

At 3.5 years, Miss O had a great time rolling out the colors and helping me form them into rainbows. At 1.5 years, Mr. Z liked mashing up the colors and then letting me roll it out so that he could use cookie cutters on the dough. I like his star, above…it kind of reminds me of a star-fish…though mostly he just played and enjoyed the experience. He had very few useable pieces at the end.

Lastly, my Mom used to sing a song to us about rainbows that I still love and remember to this day. I was so excited to see that you can actually find it on Amazon (along with a lot of other very cool science-themed and nature-themed childrens’ songs). Here are the words from the refrain:

“By refraction and reflection
And dispersion of the light,
Little rain-drops make a rainbow
And it makes a lovely sight…”

So, that’s a summary of “Rainbow Week” at our house…It was fun having some pre-planned activities for the kiddoes. But, it sure gave me further appreciation for O’s Preschool…I don’t think I can be so organized on a regular basis!;-) What kinds of activities are your kids getting up to this Summer? Hope you are having a great week!

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