5 Simple Science Experiments that Make Rainbows

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It's spring, and we have been studying rainbows! I personally love rainbows, as do my kids; they are almost magical even when you know the science behind them.  We had tons of fun finding different ways to make them too!

Of course, we already knew that rainbows occur when light is refracted by water droplets in the air. Well, I knew that, but my kids basically knew they appear when there is rain and sun. 

They also know the colors well and still to this day sing the Rainbow Color Song from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (although they haven't seen it in years)


Use a Hose to Make a Rainbow


They also remembered one of their favorite ways to make rainbows is with the hose in the summer!  Simply hold the hose up where the sun can shine through the water and look for your rainbow. Make sure the sun is brightly shining behind you and move your hose slightly until you find the rainbow!


Use a Prism to Make a Rainbow


The next way we found to make a rainbow is a well known one, a prism. Prisms separate white light into its colors. We had a little plastic prism that worked with bright light, but it was even better demonstrated with the cut glass on Mimi's front door! 

Prism

Rainbows made by the cut glass of the door.

Use a Glass of Water to Make a Rainbow


The next way we found was using a glass of water and a bright window. Fill the glass up part way and set in front of the window where the sun is shining in.  We used a smooth glass and got a nice little rainbow, and then we used a faceted glass and got some crazy rainbows. Inspiration Laboratories was able to do this with a flashlight as well, but I guess ours wasn't strong enough! We'll have to try again someday!

                      

Use a CD to Make a Rainbow


The fourth way we found, and also my kids favorite, was using a CD. It worked well in the sunlight, but we had even more fun with it in the dark with a flashlight! 



The girls played with so many different angles. The best was when Nadia managed to shine the rainbow on herself and couldn't find it! Buggy and Buddy made similar rainbow reflections; check out the patterns they made too!



Use Bubbles to Make a Rainbow


The last place we found rainbows was in bubbles! Obviously we didn't actually make these rainbows, but we had a great time blowing bubbles and observing the rainbows in the membrane of the bubble! The thicker the bubble the more vibrant the rainbow!


If we had some oily puddles around to look at that would have been fun too, but it was currently too dry for that! We had a great time with our hands-on rainbow learning though!




Have you made any rainbows lately? How did you do it? I know we would love some more ways to make rainbows because who doesn't love rainbows?!


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