What Makes a Rainbow?

I always joke that after Baby Book Club each month it looks like a tornado went through our house. Well, this week an actual tornado came a little too close for comfort to our home, but we were fortunate that more chaos was caused by 7 toddlers at Baby Book Club the next morning, then by the storm. That said, as I write this post, I am learning about the tornado devastation in Oklahoma and I want to take a moment to acknowledge how heart broken we all are for the those impacted and will look for ways to help in the days ahead.

Although storms can unleash fury, they can also result in beautiful rainbows. This month, we brought rainbows indoors as we read, What Makes a Rainbow? A Magic Ribbon Book by Betty Schwartz (illustrated by Dona Turner). The book features Little Rabbit who asks his mother, “what makes a rainbow?” To which she replies with an encouragement to ask his friends. So begins Little Rabbit’s conversations with his colorful friends: A red ladybug, an orange fox, a yellow chick, and so on. As each page in the book is turned a new ribbon appears at the top that corresponds with the color of the animal on that page. By the end of the book, all six colored ribbons appear which makes a rainbow. The last page includes one more visual surprise, a pop-up (paper) rainbow, complete with clouds and sunshine. The ribbons and pop-up in the book make it highly appealing to toddlers and the book is an excellent way for kids to learn their colors. I have heard some criticism that the rainbow in this book is not a TRUE rainbow because it includes purple in place of indigo and violet, which is true. But honestly, what 2-year old needs to know indigo and violet instead of purple? I think it is perfectly age-appropriate.

We originally had planned a messy outdoor rainbow activity, but unfortunately, the rain the night before soaked the grass, so we had to adapt. Instead we made rainbow ribbon bookmarks, which as it turned out, worked very well with the book. To make the bookmark, each child received a rectangle of plastic canvas (that I cut out before the meeting). Each rectangle was 6 boxes wide (to correspond to the colors in the rainbow as described in the book). The children also received ribbons in each of the rainbow colors. We laid the ribbons out in front of the kids and then as we read the book we ask them to pick up the ribbon that corresponded to the color featured on that particular page. We then tied the ribbon to the bookmark. When we finished they had a rainbow of ribbons tied to their new bookmark that matched the ribbon rainbow in the book.

Coming up with a snack idea for the rainbow was pretty easy! We made fruit rainbows! Each parent brought one “color” of the rainbow and we put the rainbows together on light blue plates (to represent the sky). There was quite a bit of fruit on each plate, so I was amazed at how many of the kids completely or nearly finished all of the fruit on their plates! When my son and I discussed Baby Book Club before bed, “snack” what the part that he liked best. He then proceeded to tell me the fruits that he ate. Just goes to prove that healthy snacks can be fun and appealing to toddlers!

See the  slideshow below for photos of our beautiful homemade rainbows and a surprise real rainbow that showed up after more storms later that night. Next month is all about strawberries as we read, The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don Wood and Audrey Wood.

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