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In looking for a rainbow activity to do with my kids, I saw a cute 3D rainbow. I decided to take this idea and turn it into a way for my kids to practice some basic measurement skills. (I also made a printable that I’m sharing here today.)
The idea to make a printable was inspired partly by the fact that I did not have construction paper in all the colors of the rainbow. Plus, I wanted to create an activity with multiple levels of difficulty so that both of my kids could practice basic measurement skills at their level.
This would be a great activity to do in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, and you will find this and other ideas on my St. Patrick’s Day activities for kids page. But this activity also stands on its own as a fun math activity or as a math activity that also works on colors.
My kids are at different levels with their math ability. My oldest, QBoy, is great with counting and recognizes his numbers pretty well. XGirl, on the other hand, can count to 10 just fine but only recognizes a few numbers. While I wanted both of them to work on numbers and measuring, I differentiated the activity by providing them with different tools to complete it.
For XGirl, I provided her with rainbow colored strips of paper that each had 10 1 inch boxes labeled with numbers 1-10. The idea was to make the red strip 10″, the orange strip 9″, the yellow strip 8″ and so on. I told her how long to make each strip, and she did the work of counting how many boxes she needed.
(Note: One tool I use a TON – and that came in handy for cutting the paper strips for this activity – is our portable paper trimmer. This tool saves me so much time cutting straight lines when I use printables I’ve created or downloaded from others and I highly recommend one for all the time you will save!)
Once she determined the right length, she cut her strips to size.
For QBoy, I wanted this activity to serve as an introduction to using rulers. My mom (who was helping out on this day) showed him how to line up the ruler with the end of the paper strip.
And then she showed him how to make a mark where he would need to cut the strip.
As the kids worked, they put their paper strips in order from largest to smallest.
Once the strips were all cut, they used tape to secure the purple strip – which was cut to the shortest length – to a piece of cardstock. We taped the first side down and then created an arch before taping the second side down.
As you can see, we offset each color so it was slightly back from the previous color. This made it easier to see all the beautiful colors in the rainbow.
And voila! The finished product! The kids were so proud of their rainbows. And I was thrilled with the math skills they got to practice. 🙂
Would you like to try this activity with your kids? I’ve created a free printable version you can download that includes three different levels of difficulty. (My kids only used the easiest and most difficult levels. There is an additional middle level for kids who may not be ready to use the ruler but who do not need the support of having the numbers written on the strips.)
Here is a sneak peak at all three versions of the activity included in the download:
Want a copy of my Build a 3D Rainbow activity?
Add this product to your cart by clicking the button below!
Looking for more hands-on activities that incorporate Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM)? Then you’ll love STEAM Kids! This book features 52 hands-on activities are helpfully identified by category (science / technology / engineering / art / math) so you know exactly what skills your kids are developing.
Grab a copy of the e-book delivered as a PDF download (or this e-book for EU residents) and in print at Amazon.
More resources for teaching math
More math activities from Gift of Curiosity:
- Adding with chain links
- Matching and ordering by size
- Venn diagram sorting practice
- Teaching combinations of 10
- Estimating an apple’s circumference
- Introduction to probability
- Math practice with numbered dice
- Put the numbers on the clothesline
- Road numbers
For more activities, resources, and printables for teaching math, see my Math Activities for Kids page and my Math Pinterest board.
AMAZING!!! AND, thanks to YOU, i know there is actually a real life “portable paper cutter” !!!! I have been day dreaming about something like this for the last few weeks, and just never got around to researching! NOW, you saved me! THANK YOU for that and for making these wonderful educational interactive rainbow prints available for us for free! My LO & I are BOTH tired of “making rainbows” … gets a wee bit boring NOW you’ve spiced it up indeed! Many many thanks again. I just love your website here.
Too funny! I, too, was so excited when I got my portable paper cutter. It saves me a TON of time! Plus, the cuts are straighter than what I can do with scissors, so it’s a win-win! Enjoy making your 3D rainbows and hope your kids get some measurement practice in too. 🙂
What a great activity!! I love it! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!
This is so clever. What a great way to learn about maths.
This is a colorful and creative idea!
Thank you for stopping by the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop this week. We hope to see you drop by our neck of the woods next week!
Pinned this to my Kindergarten board! Great idea for cutting and measuring. Thanks for linking up to the Thoughtful Spot Blog Hop. Hope to see you next week!
I love this activity!! We’ve just started learning about rainbows and my little guy is only 2 but I’ll have to remember this for later 🙂 Thanks for linking it up with Mom’s Library last week! I featured it in this week’s link up 🙂 Feel free to stop by and grab the featured button!
Thank you for linking up with the Hearts for Home Blog Hop! I chose your post as one of my favorites from last week and am featuring it on this week’s post and on our Pinterest board.