Learning About Rain and Rainbows for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Oh, rainy days.

It can be so hard to keep a house full of toddlers and preschoolers entertained when it is rainy outside.

Little people like to be on the move and love to have someone entertaining them.

Don’t get me wrong. They can play independently. Just, not when it’s raining.

HaHa!

We see a lot more rainy days in the Spring time, so we sometimes hear I’m bored a few more times. That’s when we make the most of the rain and turn it into a great learning opportunity filled with crafts, books, science and activities.

First off. What is rain?

Heat from the Sun causes water on Earth to evaporate or turn into a gas and rise into the sky. This water vapor collects in the sky in the form of clouds. This is called evaporation.

Condensation is when the water vapor in the clouds gets cooler or colder and it becomes water again.

Precipitation is when water falls from the sky in the form of rain, snow, hail, or sleet. The water that falls form the sky is goes into oceans and lakes and the process starts all over again.

This and additional information on the water cycle can be found at Science Kids: Fun Science and Technology for Kids – Weather and the Water Cycle http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/sciencefacts/weather/thewatercycle.html.

A great song and video that explains this further is found at Have Fun Teaching. It is meant for older students but is fun to listen to.  https://www.havefunteaching.com/video/science/water-cycle-song-animated

We also discuss the biblical aspect of rain and how important it is.

“He provides rain for the earth; he sends water on the countryside.” Job 5:10

What does rain do for us?

  • Provides us with drinking water
  • Provides crops with water
  • Provides animals with water to drink

As you can tell these are for younger kiddos. There are more benefits of rain that could be researched by your older kiddos.

Rainy Day Crafts

Our first rainy day go to craft this year was making paper plate umbrellas.

These are super easy to pull together in a pinch, if you have the supplies.

  • Paper plates; cut in half
  • Crayons or markers
  • Tape and/or glue
  • Pipe cleaners or tongue depressors
  • Scissors

I cut the umbrella shape for the little ones, unless your kiddo can use scissors to cut out their umbrella. I cut the paper plates in half as if cutting half circles across the plate (scalloped edge). I go ahead and use both sides of the plate. The design made is cute for what we are making.

The kids love coloring their own umbrella.

They are also able to help with gluing and taping on the pipe cleaner. Of course, showing it to mom or dad is their favorite part.

Coloring sheets are also a great way to incorporate another activity while also going over a letter of the alphabet.

These coloring sheets were hand made with a permanent marker. I could have copied them but had a few minutes to do them by hand and save on some printer ink.

We will add these to the children’s alphabet notebook that contains other letters that they have gone over this year.

Science

We have also started recording how much moisture we have been getting from rain or snow accumulation.

This is a great opportunity for the children to learn about graphs and keeping track of data.

We do this by utilizing a hand written graph that I made with some rolled paper, markers and a ruler. You could really make it fancy if you have the time. I wrote down what we would like to measure. In this case rain or snow accumulation in inches and when the accumulation occurred.  I then hung it  up where the kids could see it.

The children really enjoy having something that they can look at and help keep track of of our rainy and snowy days.

Reading Time

When we are not looking at rain totals or doing crafts we are reading books about rainy days. Good Reads has a great list of rainy day books.

https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/children-rain-storms

Don’t forget to look through all of those nursery rhyme books you may have or check out your local public library.

One of my favorite books is “Thunder Cake” by Patricia Polacco. “Thunder Cake” is a great story about helping children not be so afraid of thunder and lightening, especially when a storm is coming. It also has a cake recipe at the end of the book. (I’m not affiliated with the book or Amazon, but it is a fun book.)

https://www.amazon.com/Thunder-Cake-Patricia-Polacco/dp/0698115813

Another way to prepare our kiddos for upcoming rainy days is with tornado drills. Living in Kansas this is something that is required and I really don’t mind the practice for all of us. We are blessed to have a basement for when there is severe weather. The practice also helps ease some stress the children may have if we do end up in an emergency situation, which is annually.

After the rain comes the rainbow.

Rainbow Craft and Activity

This is a cute matching craft the kids can do with a little preparation on your part.

Supplies you will need for this craft include;

  • Paper plates
  • Scissors
  • Colored construction paper cut into strips
  • Markers that match the colored construction paper
  • Glue

First, you will need to cut out stripes of construction paper. Older kiddos can cut out strips of colored construction paper on their own. We have several younger children, so I cut the strips ahead of time. I cut them about 1 1/2″ to 2″ wide. Smaller would also work well. The colors you will need are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. You can also use the acronym “ROY G BIV” when going over the colors with the children.

Here is a video from Little Baby Bum “Colors of the Rainbow” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvVMPfy-5Lg&t=4s

Once your strips are cut. Cut your paper plates to look like a cloud. I did a scalloped edge to the top half of the plate, but you could do the whole plate. Again, who cuts the plate depends on the skill level of your child cutting.

After you have everything cut you are ready to color your matching dots. You could also use dot stickers if you have those available. Stamps would also work great. I used good old fashioned markers, because that it what I had available. Use your markers to make a dot about 1/2″ around and about 1/2″ apart. Your kiddo(s) will be gluing their colored strips to the paper plate.

Depending on the age, knowledge, and ability of your child(ren) they should be able to do match the color strip to the dot and glue independently. I did assist our younger children with some matching and gluing (2 and under).

The kids really enjoy this activity and I will be looking for additional ways to incorporate matching. I want them to complete more detailed projects like this independently. They are great at gluing things where they want to, but I want to add more instruction driven crafts.

Science

Why not make a rainbow, too. Explorable goes through all the steps and tools needed to make a rainbow with your little ones. We have loads of windows in our home that cast prisms through the day, but they really enjoyed this experiment.

https://explorable.com/making-a-rainbow-experiment

Books

Everything Preschool has a great list of books about rainbows. Don’t forget to check out your library to see what they have available. http://www.everythingpreschool.com/themes/rainbows/books.php

We can’t forget about the story of Noah, The Ark, and the flood.

If you don’t have a story book with this story in it here is a link to DLTK’s Bible Activities for Kids The Story of Noah by Sharla Guenther. http://www.dltk-bible.com/genesis/chapter6-cv.htm This site has an abundance of additional crafts and activities related to rain, rainbows, and Noah and the Ark.

“13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” Genesis 9:13-16

There is so much to be grateful for in our lives. We can sometimes see the rain and hear the thunderstorms and think, “Oh, no!” or “Great, I’m getting soaked today!” It is easy to forget how wonderful and needed the rain is. How precious this water is to the land, farmers, and one of our sources of life. It is also so incredible to see the rainbow after the storm and know God’s promise.

Prayers and God Bless to you. I hope you see a rainbow soon.

Thank you so much for stopping by and enjoy creating at home.

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