Tuesday, May 9, 2023
Welcome back to Our Grand Lives, everyone!
Our typical Monday morning post fell to the wayside this week
after a BUSY May weekend!
Now that we’ve caught our breath, we’re all set,
ready with today’s post!
There are few things in life that elicit more awe
than spotting a rainbow in the sky!
We all know the excitement and joy felt in that moment!
Rainbows bring color and smiles to everyone!
Today’s post focuses on the colors of the rainbow
and fun activities to enjoy with our Littles of all ages!
We love spending these spring days with our grandkids
(or, as we say in this blog, our Littles)!
They are fascinated by rainbows
and they love learning about the colors in our world!
We’ve rounded up a variety of activities
and we’ve got you covered with ideas for babies and toddlers
as well as preschoolers and older Littles!
Most activities require only a few materials and/or prep time
but provide engaging experiences…
all celebrating rainbow colors!
Last year at this time, Laura’s Little L was experiencing more and more milestones…
As you can see, Little L loved playing with her fingers and toes!
It’s a great time in our Littles' lives
to bring lots of colors into their worlds!
A Grand Tip!
Early on Laura purchased a few items to have on hand for Gramma visits
and each has proven to be a good investment!!
These items have been used over and over again
during the past year (and they’ve often been referenced in this blog)!
I’ve used them in a variety of ways, always adding a twist
to make the experience fresh for Little L,
whether we are at her house or mine!
RAINBOW Fun with Our Littlest Littles!
Most sensory play for infants focuses on touch, sight and hearing!
Sensory play activities are one of the simplest ways we can support our Littles’
as they develop and learn!
These activities stimulate our Littles’ senses which supports
brain and language development, motor skills and social interactions…
It’s so fun to watch our littlest Littles as they begin to
problem solve and make connections!
🌈 Laundry Basket Fun!
Once Little L was able to sit up on her own, I would put her in the laundry basket and then I'd add colored balls around her, creating a mini ball pit!. She’d fling them around, put them in her mouth, lay down in them and kick them around! As she got older, she liked throwing them out of the laundry basket and now she really likes picking them up and putting them back in the basket! Of course, we always add another layer of fun by pushing her around in the laundry basket! Lots of squeals of fun!
🌈 Make a Colorful Sensory Bag!
Little L enjoyed exploring sensory bags when she was 5 months and older! I made a variety of them but found the colorful ones to be the most engaging for her! I used a gallon freezer bag and added some clear hair gel (the cheap stuff from the dollar store) and then I went through my craft bins and found some colorful erasers or beads… anything colorful will work. Once I added this to the bag, I made sure the air was out of it, made sure it was closed and then added packing tape to make it extra secure! Little L explored the sensory bag on the floor during tummy time and then a few months later while in her high chair and then when sitting up on her own! (NOTE: I would either hold the bag in place as Little L played OR I taped the bag to the floor or her high chair, as needed.)
🌈 Hang Streamers from the Doorway!
I forgot to take a picture of this one last year! (Who knew a blog would be a thing?!?) We hung some streamers from the doorway, just letting them hang partway down the door opening. Then I’d carry Little L through the streamers… when going through the doorway, the colors would brush against us, creating a total sensory experience! I can’t wait to repeat this experience with her now that she can walk through the doorway. (Little L also has a play tunnel and I’m thinking that it might be fun to add some streamers for her to crawl through!)
Other favorite activities have included:
pulling colorful scarves out of an empty wipes container!
tickling our Littles with colorful feathers
listening to a colorful wind chime at the window
exploring a bin filled with colorful toys (different textures & colors)
RAINBOW Fun with Our Toddler Littles!
As your Little gets a bit older and begins to crawl and then walk,
the world opens up even more!
In addition to the activities described above
(YES, your toddlers would love them),
we’ve provided a few more fun and easy ways to celebrate rainbow colors below!
🌈 Rainbow Hide and Seek!
This activity was super simple, adaptable, lots of fun… and a bit of a mess! Laura brought some colorful paper shreds she had in her gift wrapping supplies at home on a recent visit. She simply put the paper shreds in a plastic bin and added puzzle pieces from one of Little L’s favorite puzzles! Little L hunted through the paper shreds to find her puzzle pieces! She loved throwing the paper shreds up in the air (thus the mess). In fact, you’ll notice from the photo that the bin disappeared! Thankfully, it was an easy clean up!
We also played with some of her favorite plastic animals and a set of colorful bracelets Laura found at Target in the party supply section! Oh my goodness! Was that a winner! Little L loved finding the bracelets and then putting them on her wrists or feet! (NOTE: In the future, as Little L learns her colors, I can see us playing a matching game with these, as well!) At $5.00 for a set of 12, these bracelets were a worthwhile deal!
🌈 Rainbow Sensory Bag… Toddler Style!
When teaching Kindergarten, Laura would make a set of 6 of these each spring for students to use as they took turns practicing writing their names or sight words. Now she’s made one for Little L to explore. Little L had such fun mixing the colors together and it can be used over and over again!
A Grand Tip!
If older kids are using it to practice writing words,
use the eraser end of a pencil or a q-tip
instead of a finger to write with!
Here’s how to make one: You’ll need a freezer Ziploc bag and some washable paints (at least 3-4 colors or more). Roll down the sides of the Ziploc bag and add the first color of paint. Using your fingers on the outside, spread the layer of paint from edge to edge. Then add the second color, repeating this process. At this point, I unrolled the freezer bag a bit before adding another layer of a new color of paint. Keep repeating. I used five colors that I had available. When done, gently press out any air and close the bag. Secure it with clear packing tape. Don’t worry if the colors overlap a bit! Time to let your Little explore!
🌈 Raining Rainbow Pom Poms!
Little L loves to put things in containers and take them out! Now that she’s no longer putting things in her mouth, this was an activity we both thoroughly enjoyed! All I needed was my bag of pom poms and a plastic bottle that I had cut the top and neck off of. Once it was dry, everything was set to go! Little L loved filling the bottle with pom poms. Then I’d say, “Ready, Set…” and she would say “Go!” and dump the pom poms from above… almost like they were raining! We did this over and over and over again!
🌈 Rainbow Match!
If you have toddlers, this is a fun matching game to encourage their understanding of colors..
Laurie made a simple paper rainbow attached to a cloud for Little D and provided a bowl of Froot Loops cereal for her, too. She modeled how to match each Froot Loop to the correct color on the paper rainbow!
You could also use pom poms, stickers or squares of colored paper. Froot Loops work perfectly as all the rainbow colors are right there for you! This activity provided some great entertainment for Little D! She filled the rainbow with lots of Froot Loops.
It then dawned on her what she was using. She looked at me and said “Eat?” I laughed and let her clear a couple of pieces off the board as she nibbled before I put it all away.
After all, that’s what grandmas are for... right?
Older Littles are ready to explore and their minds are always thinking
about how things work in the world!
Hmm. imagine how fun it would be to go for a walk
after a spring or summer rain!
Perhaps, you’ll even be lucky enough to spot a rainbow
as the sun peeks out from behind the clouds!
How special would that be!
RAINBOW Fun with Our Older Littles!
In the meantime, here are a few ideas to share with those older Littles
to celebrate rainbows and their beauty!
🌈 A Rainbow Race!
Laurie did this activity with her 4 year-olds in Sunday School when they were learning about Joseph and his coat of many colors.... I love to read and craft with kids, but I know Littles need to move to understand and enjoy certain concepts.
Ahead of Time: Draw a rainbow on a large sheet of tagboard or paper (see below). Cut out squares of paper in the rainbow colors. You will need more squares of colors like red and orange, and less of purple and blue.
Using masking tape rolled in circles, tape the squares to surfaces in a large area (to the walls or furniture). Since we were at church, we did this in a long hallway so I had a lot of space to put the taped squares.
Tape one square of each color on the rainbow, so Littles can easily see where the colors will go.
Time to Play: At the word “Go”, the Littles take off running (or moving quickly) and grab ONE square - with the tape still attached to the back.. (I had to model this step for them.) They'd run back to the rainbow then and tape their square next to the last square of that color. (I sat by the rainbow and guided them at first, but they caught on quickly). Play continues until the rainbow is full!
This really isn’t much of a race… Littles just love to move quickly!
However, in my Sunday School class, the Littles decided
which color was “the winner” (finished first)
and then sat around the rainbow pointing out their favorite colors.
It’s been hanging in our Sunday School room all year!
A Few Grand Tips!
The bigger the rainbow, the more squares you can fit on.
The smaller the squares, the more you can fit on.
The farther away you can place the rainbow (down the hall, in another room), the more exercise your Littles will get!
#1 If you are playing the game with only one child, you could tell them which color to get each time.
#2 Build your rainbow with items around the house or outside with natural items.
#3 If you are a Distant Grand, you might find this idea helpful! I actually did this game on Zoom with my kinders during Distance Learning. I would say red and they would go and find something red and set it down in front of them. Once everyone had returned, I’d announce orange and they’d be off running, returning with a new object to set down next to the red. We followed this pattern with all 6 colors of the rainbow and then showed off our beautiful unique rainbow “lines” to each other at the end!.
What your “classroom” looks like when everyone is running to get their color object!
🌈 Sing a Rainbow!
Here is a peaceful song your Little can listen to and practice color recognition using strips of colored paper!
Littles love this slow and soothing song! As you sing the colors you can have your Little point to the colors spread out before them, or, ahead of time, you can staple squares of the colors together like a book and flip through them as you listen to the song!.
🌈 A Rainbow Windsock!
This activity is very easy but always enjoyed by Littles! We always have tissue paper/crepe paper streamers left from parties, so these remnants is what we use for this project. (You could also use strips of newspaper as another, less colorful option... or you could use the Sunday comics section... fun!)
Once made, these wind socks could be used to dance with as you listened to the rainbow song above! Of course, you could also head outside on a windy day!
Materials Needed:: A paper or plastic cup, a pair of scissors, a long piece of ribbon, long strips of colored crepe paper or tissue paper (about 1 ½” x 18” or longer), tape or glue
1. Make a large slit in the bottom of the cup.
2. Push one end of each crepe paper streamer through the slit. Tape (or glue) that end to the inside of the cup. Repeat this step with the other lengths of crepe paper, too.
3. On the other end of the cup (the top), punch two holes across from each other. String the ribbon through each hole and tie a knot. (This will be your windsock handle.)
4. Decorate your windsock as you’d like. Laura had some colorful stickers but you could also use markers or crayons, depending on your cup!
🌈 A Candy Rainbow!
Laura's older daughter, Daughter J, is also an elementary teacher. Before she married and moved to Wisconsin, she taught in a nearby district so Laura had the opportunity to visit her second grade classroom (at that point Laura was also teaching but we had different Spring Breaks that year.) Laura read a book about rainbows and then did this science activity with the class, using jelly beans!
I gave each child a paper plate (appetizer size) and a small Ziploc bag of jelly beans. Each child was given the directions to create a rainbow pattern using jelly beans as shown above. Once everyone had their pattern ready to go, I walked around with a pitcher of water and added a bit to the bottom of each plate… being careful to not add too much! The second graders were so excited to watch the rainbow slowly appear on the plate! You can also use skittles! They work great and often create a more vibrant rainbow! (NOTE: This is also a great lesson in patience as you have to watch for a couple of minutes and the dish needs to stay still as the rainbow emerges!)
For more fun to share with our Littles…
now and in the future,
here’s a RAINBOW of ideas we've saved!
Feel free to tap on each link that interests you to learn more!
from The Keeper of the Memories
Check out this great resource filled with over 30 rainbow themed activities perfect for learning and exploring rainbows through sensory play, STEAM activities, and process art!
from Hands On as We Grow
Make a super cute twisty rainbow craft while matching colors in this simple and fun activity!
From Oh Hey Let’s Play
This collection of rainbow themed learning and play activities will provide lots of inspiration!
And here’s what we have for the older Littles in our lives!
From Everyday Chaos and Calm
Rainbow slime, bookmarks, bead rainbows, suncatchers, plus more!
From Little Bins, Little Hands
Become familiar with the engineering design process with these challenging tasks! Ideas include building a rainbow maze, a rainbow monster, a garden of rainbow flowers and more!
From Lessons 4 Little Ones
An easy rainbow science experiment, perfect for older Littles! This simple experiment shows kids how to create their own rainbows and helps them understand what is needed to form a rainbow and why we don’t always see rainbows even if there is both rain and sunshine.
We hope this post has given you lots of colorful inspiration
and provided activities for you to try with your Littles...
especially as summer approaches!
If you'll be spending days with your Littles during the summer months ahead,
keep this post available!
You could plan a RAINBOW Day filled with fun activities
and invite your Littles to dress in rainbow colors to make things even more festive!
we're all about creating memories that the heart holds forever! ❤
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We’ll be back on Thursday with a follow-up post…
Eating the RAINBOW! Nibbles for Our Littles!
See you then!
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