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Story of the Rainbow

Activity Information:

Grade Appropriate Level: Primary / Elementary
Big Ideas: 
Creative experience involves an interplay between exploration, inquiry, and purposeful choice. (Arts Education)
Materials (Optional): A Colour Wheel or colours of the rainbow on a sheet(s) of paper.


  • Students will be able to identify the colours of the rainbow

  • Students will be able to explore their local environment to find different colours in nature

  • Students will be able to share their observations about living things in their local environment

  • Students will be able to create artistic works

Prescribed Learning Outcomes:

Students are expected to know the following:

  • Visual arts elements of design – colour

  • The planned use of the visual elements to achieve a desired effect


Students are expected to be able to do the following:

  • Express feelings, ideas, and experiences in creative ways

  • Make exploratory observations using their senses

  • Experience, document and share creative works in a variety of ways


Pre-Class Preparation:

The teacher will need to make the following preparations prior to class:

  • Primary focus (K-3 but could be adapted for older elementary) Can begin with a discussion on colours

  • colours in the environment

  • colours in the forest

  • how colours make you feel (eg. green trees are calming, yellow flowers are happy)?

  • Display attached Colour Wheel and discuss the emotions associated with the various colours


What do colours mean? How do they make you feel? i.e:

White: pure, clean, empty
Red: anger, love, strength
Pink: gentle, sweet, romance

Yellow: cheerful, bright, cowardly
Orange: warm, happy, tasty
Green: calm, envy, sick

Blue: cool, serious, sad
Purple: rich, creative, status
Grey: cold, uniform, dull
Black: dark, elegant, sinister

colour wheel - Rainbow.png

Talk about warm and cool colours. Link to nature, weather (rain, snow, sun...) Go for a walk in the forest and link the colours to the environment and how they make the children feel. Cut-up paint chips (from hardware shops) and put in a brown paper bag.


Ask students to pull 3 samples out of the bag. Give them 10 minutes to find something in nature that matches the colour swatch.

(Links under "Suggested Links" offer some ideas for brainstorming activity. Simplify information to age level you are working with.)

Suggested Instructional Strategies:


Who has seen a rainbow? When do we see a rainbow? What are the weather conditions? What colours are in the rainbow? After reading “The Story of the Rainbow”, test for comprehension by asking the children what

each colour signifies. What was the reaction of the rain to the colours' quarreling? What is the purpose of the rainbow?

To finish the activity children can join hands and sing the Rainbow Song.


Red and yellow, pink and blue, Purple and orange and green

I can sing a rainbow. I can sing a rainbow. Can you?


Students then create their own rainbow with paint, water colours or colouring pencils. 

Story of the Rainbow provided below.

Story of the rainbow - preview.png

Suggested Assessment Strategies:

  • Compare observations with those of others

  • Make simple inferences based on their results and prior knowledge

  • Create a work of art that represents their new knowledge of colour

Extensions: set up a daily morning check-in for students to share how they are feeling by using colours skills/ more on self-regulation

Download the PDF version of the 

Story of the Rainbow Activity below:

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