Choose a fun and engaging rainbow experiment to try with your kids this spring. The only tough decision is determining which rainbow science activity to try first.
Hands-on science is the name of the game in preschool and kindergarten. Young children love exploring their world with all of their senses, and this definitely helps them to learn as they do.
Set Up a Rainbow Experiment This Spring
Below you’ll find a variety of rainbow science experiments and activities for young children.
I think these ideas would be perfect for a preschool rainbow theme, teaching children about colors, or just as fun additions to your science lesson plans.
You’ll notice I mentioned both rainbow science experiments AND rainbow science activities. You may wonder if those terms are interchangeable, but I didn’t use them as such.
When it comes to science experiments, children are walked through the scientific process. This means talking about the materials and the experiment ahead of time. It also means engaging the children in their thoughts about what will happen during the experiment and encouraging the kids to come up with their own hypotheses about what will happen.
In terms of science activities, these are fun ways to explore early science concepts with the children. You will note, though, that many simple science activities can be translated to true science experiments. It just takes a little bit of extra planning and questioning!
Scented Rainbow Science
I have to tell you, the kids and I have done this scented rainbow science experiment so many times. There’s a possibility I could set this whole thing up in my sleep, I think.
You can adjust this rainbow experiment to suit your own purposes, of course. Consider using ice cube trays with special shapes, or focus in on just one or two colors instead. But definitely be sure to include the scent aspect to this idea, as it really grabs the kids’ attention.
Rainbow Glitter Jars
These rainbow glitter jars turn out beautifully each and every time (at least, they have for us).
The jars can be a simple activity that you make ahead of time for the kids. Or you can include the children and turn it into a rainbow experiment by determining how much of each ingredient to use to make the glitter fall slowly.
See them in action here:
Rainbow Discovery Bottle
This rainbow bottle from Preschool Inspirations are another take on a colorful sensory jar. What I love about it is that the colors don’t all run together.
Because it takes a little bit of finagling, you will likely want to make this rainbow bottle ahead of time. This way, you can decide the exact steps to include the children in.
Make a homemade spectroscope like Buggy and Buddy did, using just a few basic materials. This is definitely something you’ll have to do for the kids ahead of time, but it shouldn’t take too long to make.
Once the spectroscope is made, take the kids outside and help them learn how to use it to see rainbows.
Rainbow Density Jar
You’ll need quite a few ingredients for this density jar rainbow experiment from Playdough to Plato. But, trust me, it’ll be worth it.
This is a great science activity to use when teaching children about the concept of density. Yes, preschoolers and other young children can definitely learn about scientific concepts like this. Even if they don’t completely grasp it at first, they will have a blast learning along the way.
This paper rainbow experiment from Science Kiddo is one that’s on my list to try. I’ve done it years and years ago, but really need to try it with the kids again soon.
I’d definitely suggest that you try this one out ahead of time to perfect your “technique”. That way, once the kids are ready, you can model the activity and help walk them through what to do.
Walking Water Rainbow Experiment
Coffee Cups and Crayons shares how to set up the classic walking water science experiment. This is a perfect one to use when introducing the kids to the steps of the scientific method.
Consider arranging the whole setup in a circle or a half-circle if you want to invoke a rainbow. Encourage the children to draw their observations as the experiment progresses. I’m sure you will hear many an “Oooooh!” and “Ahhhhh!” from the kids.
Rainbow Ice Experiment
This melting rainbow ice experiment from Powerful Mothering looks gorgeous! The colors, and the question of “Can you melt the ice?” will surely draw the kids in and keep them engaged the entire time.
Depending on the weather, you might even try this one outside. This way, the kids can also experiment with melting the ice in direct sunlight and in the shade.
How to Flip a Rainbow
This is probably the easiest rainbow experiment of the whole bunch! Lemon Lime Adventures shows us how to teach light refraction in a super fun (and super easy) way.
Once the kids understand how to do this activity, you could even consider adding it to the science center for independent exploration.
This colorful slime from The Best Ideas for Kids is definitely worth making when you’re teaching the kids about rainbows!
Of course, I wouldn’t suggest it for younger children who are still putting things in their mouths. But for older kids who can follow basic safety instructions, it will definitely be a fun science activity about rainbows.
Crystal Rainbow Experiment
FSPDT walks you through the process of making crystal rainbows with the kids. I’ve made basic crystal snowflakes with the preschoolers before, and the kids seriously loved everything about it.
I can only imagine that adding the rainbow aspect to it would be even more fun for the children.
How to Make a Rainbow
Science Sparks explains a couple of different ways the kids can make rainbows. I can see trying these ideas both inside the classroom and outside on the playground.
The children will be so excited to run home and tell their families about making rainbows at school.
Skittles Rainbow Science
Break out the candy for this rainbow experiment from Fantastic Fun and Learning. This is a great candy science activity to try with the kids during the spring or right after Halloween (when oodles of candy is on-hand). You can also try this with candy hearts if it’s near Valentine’s Day.
The great thing about this rainbow science is how you can really engage ALL of the kids’ senses during the entire activity.
Color Changing Flowers
This classic science activity from Laughing Kids Learn must be included in a list of rainbow experiments, of course! Teach the children about plants and absorption by creating a rainbow of colorful flowers.
Of course, you can also adjust the experiment to focus in on just one or two colors if you’d rather. But I think a rainbow makes it even more fun for the kids (or maybe just for me).
Rainbow Ice Tower Excavation
Challenge the kids to excavate the rainbow items from ice with this activity from Fun at Home with Kids.
I love how this rainbow experiment is super simple to set up, and it gives the kids many chances to explore the scientific method with common items.
Now that I’ve tossed out so many ideas, which rainbow experiment will you try first with your preschoolers?
Preschool Science Materials
These rainbow science experiments are perfect for the spring. But don’t wait until then to get your classroom interested in science. To amp up your students’ excitement, keep your classroom stocked with some great science materials.
Check out this list and decide which items will work well in your classroom (I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post):
- Science magnet kit
- Magnifying glass set
- Kid-friendly tongs
- Jumbo eye droppers
- Sensory tubes
- Safety goggles
- Science mix and measure set
- Sensory bottles
- Sensory bins
- Butterfly net set
The children are going to absolutely love learning about these science tools. And I know they’ll love getting to use them even more!
Preschool Rainbow Lesson Plans
Make life a little easier for yourself with done-for-you teaching resources from Preschool Teacher 101. You’ll find preschool lesson plans, math and STEM activities, and literacy resources all ready to go for you. Be sure to check out our membership options for even more bang for your buck.
Pop over and read more about our rainbow lesson plans for preschoolers. It’s a week’s worth of rainbow activities already planned for you, with printable lesson plans, book suggestions, center ideas, and related printables.