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Preschool Thematic Unit: Rainbows!

Updated on April 7, 2012

Preschool Rainbow Unit

I LOVE Rainbows so I was really excited when it was time to teach my preschool class about them. We read rainbow books, did rainbow art projects / crafts and incorporated math and science. We also talked about rainbows during circle time and sang related songs. Also included in this Hub are ideas to connect to parents!

Rainbow Art Project Ideas

The rainbow paintings were perfect for my Happy Spring board!
The rainbow paintings were perfect for my Happy Spring board!
Really great job with the bows
Really great job with the bows
Had a hard time with the bow shape, but still a really cool painting
Had a hard time with the bow shape, but still a really cool painting
I love the Construction Paper rainbows displayed hanging from the ceiling.
I love the Construction Paper rainbows displayed hanging from the ceiling.
Great job!
Great job!
Rainbow in Negative Space
Rainbow in Negative Space
Look at all those rainbows!  You could easily add some fluffy white clouds to the blue paper - I bet that would look great.
Look at all those rainbows! You could easily add some fluffy white clouds to the blue paper - I bet that would look great.

Rainbows Across All Subjects


The Rainbows and You by E.C. Krupp is a great book. It's a little advanced, but it's got a lot of great information, beautiful pictures and fun cultural stories.

What Makes a Rainbow by Betty Ann Schwartz

A Rainbow of my Own by Don Freeman

Circle Time

* Pretend to be: going on a walk in the rain, ducks, painters of the sky (painting rainbows).
* Talk about the rain. Encourage them to ask questions. Where does rain come from? Why do rain puddles dry up? When can you see a rainbow? What are the colors of a rainbow, etc. I used my white board to draw pictures that helped answer their questions.


* Drawing on the white board: Evaporation, where rain comes from, how rainbows are made....

* Rain Cups - use small cups, poke tiny holes in the bottom and fill with rain. Encourage water play.


* Counting scraps from the Art Project: Construction Paper Rainbows (see below).

* One-to-one correspondence with the different colors

* Color Search - This is a game where you have all the kids go around the room and find 1 (or 2) __[color]___ objects and come back to the circle. Then have each kid come up by you, show the other kids and tell them what they've found. For example: "Find 1 Yellow object and bring it back!" ... "I found a yellow block."


* It's Raining It's Pouring - "It's raining, it's pouring. The old man is snoring. He went to bed and bumped his head and couldn't get up in the mourning."

* Itsy Bitsy Spider - "The Itsy Bitsy Spider went up the water spout. Down came the rain and washed the spider out! Out came the sun and dried up all the rain and the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again."

* Color Song (great for Circle Time) "Bailey, what color are you wearing? [She answers] Bailey's wearing PINK today! Yay Yay Yay!" While you're singing, the child stands up and jumps during her song.


* Rainbow Paintings - We used Q-Tips in a muffin pan filled with all the different colors of the rainbow to paint our rainbows on half sheets of white paper. Demonstrate the bow shape a LOT. It's difficult for 3 year olds to draw, but you'll get some great tries!!

* Construction Paper Rainbows - Have the kids cut squares from pre-cut strips of different color paper. Then help them glue the scraps to their rainbow outline (pre-drawn) with the right colors in corresponding bows.

* Rainbows in Negative Space - Give each kid his or her favorite color construction paper and have them fill it with crayon coloring (most of my kids just scribble anyway). Use blue paper and draw a big bow for them in dark black marker. After explaining scissor-safety rules, allow them to cut on the black line. (They WILL need help with this - at least many of them will!) After cutting it out, help them glue the outside part to their construction paper.

Display your art proudly! I LOVE that my classroom is filled with rainbows right now!! :)

Connection to Parents

Each day during the unit, put a question on the white board (if you don't have a white board, write it on a paper to display in a central location) for parents to ask their kids. Here are some examples:

* What happened to the Itsy Bitsy Spider when 'down came the rain?'

* How is a rainbow made?

* Where does rain come from?

You could also include what you've been doing and what parents can do at home in a weekly newsletter.

Check out my Blog for some fun Teacher Tips and here's another Hub about teaching: I Believe in Time Outs


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    • msshandriaball profile image

      Shandria Ball 

      7 years ago from Anniston

      great thematic unit about rainbows !

    • ForLoveofCupcakes profile imageAUTHOR

      Jamie Jensen 

      7 years ago from Chicago

      Of course that's ok with me! I have a pin of rainbow kabobs too - very fun!! :)

    • cardelean profile image


      7 years ago from Michigan

      I love this idea! These are some great activities. I'd like to link this to a poem that I wrote about rainbows and share on pinterest if that is ok with you. I also like the idea of making a rainbow for snack out of fruit (strawberries or watermelon, orange pieces, pineapple or bananas, honeydew, blueberries, and purple grapes).

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 

      7 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      This is a great resource for parents and teachers! I love how you broke down the different subject areas/parts of the day.

    • ForLoveofCupcakes profile imageAUTHOR

      Jamie Jensen 

      7 years ago from Chicago

      Thanks so much!

    • thebookmom profile image


      7 years ago from Nebraska

      Fantastic hub! I loved all your ideas, my big girls will love the rainbow in negative space project :) Your book suggestions are so fun, can't wait to read them. Voted up!


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