Rainbows: lessons in colours

Even before V could identify colours ( she took a really long time to learn them) , she was fascinated by rainbows. It was possibly because of the burst of colours, or the fact that she had only seen one once. Either ways it was a fabulous opportunity to learn about natural phenomena and colours.

“What is a rainbow?”

V knows that it is something that happens in the sky. She also observed ‘rainbows’ in puddles and figured it has something to with water, too. We have not given her the answer yet.
However, we have done a lot of play using this theme. Outlining some of our play ideas below.

Rainbow stackers

Rainbow stackers are one of our favourite open-ended toys that can be introduced at 12 months onwards. Apart from being great for free play, they also ultimately teach the colours of the rainbow, in order. Chitrani’s stackers are our favourite, simply because of their finishing and natural wood.

Colours of a rainbow- motor skills

Simple play ideas to reinforce the colours of the rainbow were a super hit even before she learnt names of colours. It only required basic colour match skills. Use any material like pompoms/ dot stickers/ felt balls/ etc and any tools like tongs and fingers depending on the challenge needed.

Rainbows Sensory play

While we are on colour match, rainbow rice is an amazing visual and tactile sensory play for toddlers. It is also safe for toddlers who still mouth. Use it for color matching activities or simple free play, it is a hit either ways.


Art offers a wonderful opportunity for toddlers to explore and experience the magical world of colors. Manipulating the colours to form shapes and newer secondary colours is a learning experience in itself. Explore different media- like water, shaving cream, foam, bubble wrap, paper, etc.

Rainbow in a bottle- STEM activity

At one point of time, she managed to see a rainbow using a glass ruler and the sunlight and was keen to recreate it. This is a simple density experiment using sugar and food colours. Although this is a different concept in itself, it led to the same end result- of creating a rainbow in a bottle.

Rainbow tracing board

When we started with pre-writing skills for V, this was one of our favourite activities. Just stick a rainbow printout on the inside of a tray, cover it with salt or flour and ask the child to flick patterns using fingers or a paintbrush on it. A wonderful tactile writing experience.


We are currently doing colour gradation using coloured tablets. It requires slightly higher level concentration, and we are still mastering it. To think all these lessons started with a rainbow!

I would also highly recommend the books, Planting a Rainbowand Brown Bear Brown Bear for toddlers fascinated with colours.


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