Donna’s Day: Discover the colors of the rainbow

Sunday Signal

By Donna Erickson, Signal Contributing Writer

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner on Tuesday, March 17, and the first day of spring follows on the 19th. Both celebrations bring thoughts of colorful rainbows to mind.

While we might not see them often, when we do, we marvel at their beauty. Like the Irish, we ponder the thought of finding the legendary pot of gold at the end of one. Even if rain isn’t in the forecast, enjoy a rainbow-
filled day with kids learning the rainbow spectrum. 


Learn the sequence of colors in the spectrum. My artist friends use the catchy name “Roy G Biv” to help children remember. The letters stand for Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet. Then, discover the basic spectrum indoors on a sunny day. Pour water in a clear glass, tilt it sideways and move it slowly along the edge of the kitchen counter until you catch rays of sun shining through the water. A ribbon of rainbow colors will appear on a white floor or on a white sheet of paper placed on the floor. Look closely to see that the colors of the spectrum are on a continuous gradient. They are distinct yet meld into one another.


Create rainbow place mats for springtime snacking. Line up washable markers in the order of the spectrum, then draw a rainbow with them on construction paper. Dip a paintbrush in water and swipe it over the rainbow to meld the distinct colors into one another, creating hues.


Recycle clear plastic water bottles into artistic rainbow “Discovery Bottles,” each filled with items representing a conventional color of the spectrum. While I rarely purchase water in plastic bottles anymore, I purchased a 6-pack of Voss artesian water for this eye-catching activity. The labels peel off easily, and the lids are handsomely designed in gray. I used the six bottles for the basic colors, combining blue and indigo. Children over 4 years old will enjoy rooting through their craft supplies and toys for unbreakable items to drop and stuff into each bottle by color. We used pipe cleaners twisted in spirals, crayons, ribbon; tissue paper wadded into balls, buttons and wooden beads — which add the bonus of nice sound when shaking. 

Sort items in six piles by color, then fill each bottle. Drizzle glue around the outside mouth of bottles and screw on caps tightly.

For play, name the colors, line them up in order of the spectrum, and describe contents by shape. Make up rainbow stories. Display your rainbow on a shelf.  

Donna Erickson’s award-winning series “Donna’s Day” is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit and link to the NEW Donna’s Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is “Donna Erickson’s Fabulous Funstuff for Families.”

© 2020 Donna Erickson

Distributed by King Features Synd.

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