Nature at Home Series: The Colours of the Rainbow

There is so much you can do with colours and rainbows and children are always attracted to these, and luckily in our tropical climate, they are all around us all the time. With some creativity we can enhance the learning opportunities that colours provide. Here are some ideas for connecting with nature and exploring colours during this stay-at-home period.


Make your own rainbow experiment

This experiment is great for children aged 5 years old and above.


Did you know that white light, when refracted through water, breaks up to display the colours of the rainbow? Introduce the idea of nature rainbows with a simple experiment.


Take advantage of the morning sunlight. Fill a glass or glass jar with water and find a white piece of paper. Create a tunnel (we used pillows) over the paper and let the sun shine through the glass to create a rainbow beam onto the paper inside the darker area created by the tunnel. Consider how dark it needs to be, or light, to see the best colours. Can you take a photo and enhance the colours using a filter? Do you get a better rainbow if you use different styles of glasses? Experiment to find out how you can make your best and brightest rainbow.



Continue to explore the colours of the rainbow with these two options:

Option 1: Encourage your child to colour in their own rainbow and take their picture with you on your nature walk and find an item which matches each of the colours on their rainbow! It doesn't matter which colours they choose, although blue is always tricky.


Option 2: take an egg carton and ask your child to choose their favourite colours to mark each section, then go outside and find these colours in your local park. Take a lovely picture, then have fun giving these items back to nature.


Books:

Here are some brilliant children's books exploring the wonder of colour in the world and our associations between colours and emotions:


Poems:

For older children, 6yrs+, colours are great inspiration for a first stab at a poem. Introduce the concept first through reading poems together, you will likely have plenty of rhyming books at home, such as those by Julia Donaldson. A poem often has these main characteristics:


  • It may include rhyming words

  • The lines will be short, perhaps with breaks, to give the reader a chance to pause

  • Words or a phrase might be repeated

  • A poem often has a rhythm that can make it easy to remember


This rainbow poem was written by my son (6.5yrs) after we had explored colours, emotions and rhyming words:

"Red, a double decker bus,

Orange is my favourite orange fruit,

Yellow, the bright shiny sun,

Green, the good bright grass,

Blue, the nice light sky,

Indigo, the sun shining on our balcony floor,

Purple is the towel I see."


I was proud to see the strong association between colors and nature, with references in his poem to grass, sky, sunshine and fruit!


Ask your child to take a look at their nature rainbow and choose a colour (i.e. Pink). Next, ask them to think of a thing or a feeling which matches that colour (flower, love, warm, etc). The third step is to think of a sentence which includes the colour and the thing or feeling, such as "Pink is the colour of the flowers that fall on our grass". Repeat with each colour of the rainbow until your child's poem is complete! Children who are writing may want to write down their poem, younger children may need you to write down their ideas for them.


Have fun with all the colours of nature this week! If you get the chance to have a go please send us some photos to share with our community for inspiration.

About Claire

Claire is an environmental scientist by training and an environmental sustainability consultant and educator by trade (aside from being a busy mum to two young (and sometimes wild) children). Claire enjoyed a very outdoorsy childhood collecting acorns, making daisy chains and sifting dirt to get the perfect pile. Once upon a time Claire was an enthusiastic ultimate frisbee player and recently taught pre-school sports classes. Claire is on a mission to help City kids experience a wilder childhood through the Forest School approach to learning and founded Wildlings offering Forest School and environmental education in Singapore to do this.


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