This tissue paper and paper plate rainbow craft for preschoolers is great for kids to make for St. Patrick’s Day and a fun way to strengthen fine motor skills.
Here’s an easy rainbow craft that’s vibrant and fun for toddlers and preschoolers to make. We made our rainbows as a St. Patrick’s Day craft, but you could use this idea for a colourful spring craft too. I’ll also be popping this one into my Ultimate Paper Plate Crafts round-up under the letter R.
Even though this is a simple craft, there’s still lots of learning and development going on here. Your child will learn about rainbow order, and they’ll practice colour matching. Fine motor skills will also be challenged as they handle the delicate pieces of tissue paper, either gluing them flat or crumpling them while decorating their paper plate.
Got beads and pipe cleaners? Check out our fun and easy beaded rainbows!
Inexpensive Sensory Fun
As you know may already know, tissue paper is one of my favourite materials for crafting with here in my home daycare. I save all of the tissue paper from gifts we receive throughout the year, I have a huge colourful supply of it, and it didn’t cost me a cent!
The hooligans love the way it sounds and feels. It’s so soft and delicate and makes such a lovely crinkly sound when the kids handle it.
To make our tissue paper – paper plate rainbow, you’ll need:
- paper plate
- markers in all the colours of the rainbow
- tissue paper in all the colours of the rainbow
Begin with your tissue paper. You’ll have 6 colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. Of course, if you have 2 shades of purple, you can use both: one as indigo and one as violet.
Smooth out your tissue paper, and cut it into 1″ squares.
I happened to have a 6 sectioned wicker tray which was perfect for holding the tissue paper squares while the kids were crafting.
Next, you’ll draw a rainbow on the paper plate. This will give your child a guide to follow when placing her squares of colour.
Cool Rainbow Drawing Trick
I’m going to tell you about a really cool way to draw a rainbow.
At the center of your paper plate, draw a small purple circle. Then, around that, draw a larger blue circle. Around that, draw a green circle. Continue drawing larger and larger circles in reverse rainbow order until you finish with a large red circle near the outer rim of the plate.
So what you end up with, is a paper plate covered in colourful circles, right?
All you do now, is cut that paper plate right in half, and voila! A rainbow!
If your child is old enough to draw the circles and do the cutting, she can prep the plate herself.
And now it’s time to make the tissue paper rainbow!
Match the Colours
Have your child match up the colours of tissue paper to the coloured lines on the plate, gluing the squares in place until the plate is completely covered in colour.
Rainbow Order and New Vocabulary
While your child is working, you can talk about how a rainbow’s colours always appear in the same order, and you can discuss the shape of a rainbow. Some words that you might introduce your child to are: spectrum, arc, arch and semi-circle.
Your child may choose to glue the squares of tissue paper flat on the paper plate, or she may prefer to crumple some or all of her squares. Letting her choose how she wants to decorate her craft is important, and both methods are great for developing fine motor skills. The little squares are quite tiny to handle, and they tend to stick together, so patience and a delicate touch is required to separate them before gluing them to the plate.
Crumpling these small squares of tissue paper helps to strengthen finger muscles, co-ordination and pincer grasp.
And of course, everyone loves to glue! Today, we’re using glue dabbers. I LOVE glue dabbers for very young children, as glue bottles can sometimes be too difficult for little hands to squeeze. Alternatively, you can pour a bit of white glue into a small cup, and have your child “paint” the glue on with a paint brush.
When the rainbow has been filled in to your child’s liking, you can hang it in a window or display it on a windowsill.
More rainbow crafts and activities:
- Rainbow Wind Chimes
- Rainbow Collage for Toddlers
- Rainbow Rice for Sensory Play
- Rainbow Drink for St. Patrick’s Day
Get the 3-5 Playful Preschool e-Book!
25+preschool activities by 25 bloggers, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $8.99!
Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.