Rainbows are one of the most beautiful natural wonders. They are created in the sky when just the right combination of rain and sunshine mix. Sunlight is reflected off of raindrops in the air, making the light we usually think of as "white" split into a gorgeous array of different colors. In this science activity the kids are going to create rainbows on paper that can be enjoyed year-round, rain or shine.
Total Time: About 5 minutes
Safety Concerns: None. This is a fantastic activity that even toddlers and preschoolers can do on their own.
Materials You Need:A bowl filled with water
Clear nail polish
Small pieces of black paper
- Add 1-2 drops of clear nail polish to the bowl of water. Watch it disperse over the surface of the water.
- Quickly dip the paper into the water. Let it dry on a paper towel.
- Once it is dry (this only takes a few minutes) tilt the paper in different directions to see the rainbow patterns appear. Hold it next to a sunny window for best results.
- NOTE: The nail polish will dry quickly on the surface of the water, which will create a film that won't stick to the paper. To do this activity successfully you will need to do it quickly. Be sure to dip the paper into the water within 10-15 seconds after you drop the nail polish in. If the nail polish does create a dry film on top, simply scoop it off and try again more quickly!
What is going on?
When you dip the paper into the water it gets coated with a thin layer of nail polish. Light is reflected by the nail polish, creating rainbow patterns. This is basically the same thing that happens when a rainbow is naturally formed in the sky.
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And now on to our STEM Saturday link up! Check out our wonderful co-hosts and link up your own math and science activities:
Rainbow Rockets from Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails