A Very Cool Way to Make a Rainbow

A fun and easy way for kids to paint a perfect rainbow!

Do your kids love making rainbows?  A rainbow is almost one of the first things that kids learn to draw.  I remember drawing hundreds of them when I was in kindergarten.  Every picture that I painted included a big yellow sun in the corner of the paper and a colourful rainbow arching across the sky.  Maybe it’s the simple shape of the rainbow that makes them so fun for kids to draw, or maybe it’s that they get to use every colour in the paint tray or crayon box when they’re making them.  I’m not sure what it is, but if your kids are mad about rainbows, then they’ll think this art technique is just the coolest!

cool way to paint a rainbow

Paper plates would be perfect to use for this process, but we just use plain white cardboard to make our rainbows.

An easy way to make a rainbow:

I traced circles on the cardboard and set out the paints that we would need to make our rainbows.


Start with a purple blob in the center of your circle, and then paint larger circles outward until you end with red, at the outer edge of your circle.

kids painting rainbows

I was working with 2’s and 3’s, so understandably, their colours got mixed up and a little muddy,

toddler painted rainbows


so I’ll include some pics of the ones that I made myself, so you get an idea of how they’ll look if you make them with an older child.


Because little ones like to slap and smear the paint around, the whole circle painting thing was a real challenge for them, so I placed my finger on their cardboard and suggested they follow my finger around the circle with their paintbrush.  That worked quite well.

rainbow circles cut in half

When the paint has dried, simply cut your circle in half.  Voila!  Rainbows!!
painted rainbows


We added some cotton ball clouds and threaded ribbon through all the rainbows and turned them into colourful garlands.

rainbow bunting for preschoolers


Looking for more rainbow themed activities? Check out our:

Rainbow Collage
Rainbow Drinking Water
Rainbow Playdough
Rainbow Rice

Get my latest e-book: Fizz, Pop, Bang! Playful Science and Math Activities

40 hands-on, learning activities for kids ages 3-8. Recipes, experiments, art projects, printables and play ideas with links to 80 activities not featured in the book. All for the low price of $9.99

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    • happyhooligans says

      Glad you liked it! Have fun making yours, and feel free to link up a picture on my facebook wall when you do. I’d love to see it!

  1. says

    So pretty!! I am laughing at myself bc I thought I was being “so” original with my rainbow idea that my daughter and I are doing today, and here I see one very similar. Our’s is a bit different, but it shows that great minds think alike. =) The rainbow garland is gorgeous!!! I bet

    On an unrelated note, I noticed the yogurt containers in your background. We use yogurt containers for outdoor play too. When we go to our public park’s sandbox, I bring a supply of them, and we end up being the most popular family at the park. And I don’t have to worry about them getting lost.

    • happyhooligans says

      Thanks, Jessica. You’ll find lots of creative craft ideas if you have a look around my blog! I just popped over to yours. I didn’t spend a lot of time there, but I LOVED what I did see. Your photography skills and your passion for the camera was enough to make me click “follow”! I can’t wait to see what you’re up to!

  2. says

    I love how you turned them into garland. They look so great for 2’s and 3’s! Thanks for linking up with us this week in the Kids Co-op. I’ll be featuring your rainbows in this weeks post on Friday.

  3. says

    These are so cute – I’m going to try them with J in the week, he will love the range of colours and we’ve been practising our rainbow songs this week as well.

    Thank you for linking up to Tuesday Tots look forward to seeing you next week

  4. says

    Thank you so much for your page. I love, love, love it. it has kept my 2 lovelies busy the last 2 days (since i found you) and will do for the rest of the year.. Your ideas are so easy, cheap & best of all it brings a smile to their faces. thank you.

    • happyhooligans says

      So glad you found us, Michelle! And so happy that you’re loving our ideas! You’re in the right place if you’re looking for inexpensive and easy! I hope to keep you inspired for a good long time! Thanks so much for joining us! x

  5. Laura says

    Great idea! Perfect craft for my son’s snow day. My six year old and two year old had fun creating rainbows and the bunting is now hanging on our mantle.

  6. Esen Bozkaya says

    This was a fantastic idea to use in my ESL pre-school classroom. I teach 18 five year olds in Istanbul so we split them into two groups as we made the rainbows BIG (on A2 card). The children were really enthusiastic and it was a perfect opportunity to practise colour vocabulary. Once they had dried we cut them out; cut them in half (introducing the word semi-circle and then using a template the children cut out a butterfly shape. This meant each child had a radiant rainbow and a beautiful butterfly. What followed was really awesome…lots of racing each other around the room with their butterflies (mainly the boys) and introducing their butterflies to one another (mainly the girls). I love your ideas and the challenge of adapting them to work in my busy (sometimes crazy) classroom Thank you for the inspiration.


    • happyhooligans says

      Fabulous, Esen! I’m so glad your students loved the process. Sounds like you integrated a lot of learning into the activity. What a wonderful teacher you must be. Thanks so much for following along with me. I love that you’re enjoying our activities and using them as inspiration in your classroom. x


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