Another week of Camp Quarantine is in the books! This week’s theme was rainbows. This is one of my favorite themes, both in my preschool classroom and for camp at home. There are so many fun rainbow activities and projects for kids, and it’s an easy theme to differentiate for various ages and ability levels.
We kick off camp each day with a read aloud. Here are a few of our favorite books from this week:
- How the Crayons Saved the Rainbow by Monica Sweeney
- A Rainbow of My Own by Don Freeman
- Elmer and the Rainbow by David McKee
Rainbow Projects & Activities
- Rainbow Peace Sign Fleece Pillow Project – This pillow making project was a huge hit with the kids! The 8 and 9 year old girls completed the project independently, while the younger kids (ages 3, 5 and 6) needed adult assistance.
- Sand Art Mandalas – These were a lot of fun to make, and they’re beautiful when they are completed. The set comes with all necessary materials, including various colors of sand.
- Magic Scratch Art – Magic scratch art activities are low-prep and fun for all ages. Oriental Trading has a ton of options to choose from.
- Rainbow Rubber Band Bracelets – My daughters and nieces absolutely love making rubber band bracelets, and this activity fits in perfectly with the rainbow theme. I bought them each this kit from Amazon, which includes a hand-held loom, a hook, 600 rubber bands and 24 clips. They’ve been “looming” all week, and we all have beautiful new bracelets!
- Tie Dye – Tie Dying is a classic summer camp activity, and rainbow week is the perfect time to do it! My sister, a Pixie Lane consultant, got adorable white “Camp Quarantine 2020” shirts from Pixie Lane. We tie-dyed the shirts using this kit, and the kids (and adults!) are in love with how they turned out. If you’d like to purchase your own Camp Quarantine shirts, let me know and I can put you in touch with my sister!
- Rainbow Rice Sensory Play – My love for sensory play runs deep. I’ve used sensory bins for years, both in my classroom and at home. There are countless benefits of sensory play. This rainbow rice sensory bin helps children to:
- develop fine motor skills as they scoop and transfer rice,
- identify colors,
- engage in imaginative play, and
- strengthen language skills as they play and interact with their peers and/or an adult.
As an added bonus, it keeps children of all ages occupied and happy for quite some time! All of the campers this year, ranging from my 1 year old son to my 9 year old niece, loved playing with this sensory bin.
- Here’s how to make it: Buy a large bag of inexpensive, white rice. I used a 10 lb. bag for this sensory bin. Scoop about 5 cups of the rice into a gallon-size Ziploc bag. Then add food coloring and a capful or 2 of rubbing alcohol to the bag. Zip the bag (make sure to zip it completely!). Give the bag a good shake to distribute the color all over the rice. If the color isn’t vibrant enough, open the bag, add more food coloring, zip it back up, and give it another shake until you’re happy with the color. When the rice is completely colored, dump it out onto a baking sheet lined with waxed paper to let it dry. Repeat the steps for all of the colors that you’d like to include.
- I use this Step 2 standing sand table for my sensory table. I have had it for years, and it has been home to many different sensory play experiences. I love it because it has a lid that locks down, so I can cover it and leave it outside without worrying about animals getting into it. Who knew that squirrels really enjoy uncooked rice?! I found that out the hard way when I left an uncovered sensory bin on our screened in porch, and a squirrel chewed a hole through the screen to get to the rice! This table is also really easy to spray out with the hose and sanitize in between uses.
- Rainbow Names, Sight Words & Math Facts – This is an easy, no-prep activity to help your child practice letter formation, name writing, sight word recognition & spelling, and/or math fact mastery. Using sidewalk chalk, write letters, sight words, and/or math facts on your driveway or patio. Give your child a basket of sidewalk chalk and encourage him/her to trace over the letters or numbers that you wrote. As they trace they should say the word or fact and the letters or numbers. For example: “look – l, o, o, k”
- Baking Soda & Rainbow Vinegar Activity – This is another easy and fun activity that you can pull together with common household ingredients. All you need is white distilled vinegar, food coloring, baking soda and an eye dropper/pipette. Pour the vinegar into several plastic cups and dye each cup of vinegar with a different color of food coloring. Put some baking soda onto a paper plate or a small dish. Let your child explore by using the eye dropper to squeeze the colored vinegar onto the baking soda. This is an awesome activity with so many layers of learning embedded into it, and the kids always love it! It is great fine motor work, as the kids squeeze and release the dropper. It’s a science lesson, as you observe and discuss the chemical reaction between the vinegar and baking soda. It’s also an art lesson as you observe the colors mixing together.
This theme lends itself to so many fun snacks and treats. My mom took over the role as the snack coordinator this week, and the kids loved all of the yummy treats she planned. Here are a few of their favorites:
- Rainbow Snack Mix – Mix together Rainbow Goldfish, Trix Cereal, Fruit Loops Cereal, and mini marshmallow “clouds”. Scoop into small bowls and enjoy!
- Rainbow Cupcakes – Prepare a white cake mix, according to package directions. Divide the cake batter into several bowls and dye each bowl with a different color of food coloring. Have your children help you to layer the different colors into cupcake liners in a cupcake pan. Bake according to package directions. When cool, have your children help to put frosting and rainbow sprinkles on the cupcakes. Yum!
Rainbow Bagels – Call your local bagel shop and see if they’ll make rainbow bagels as a special breakfast or lunch for rainbow week. Local friends, Bagel Boys in West Nyack made these for us, and the kids loved them!
I hope you and your little cubbies enjoy these rainbow activities as much as mine did! I’ll see you back next week for Seasons Week!