Rainbows are a popular thematic unit in the month of March and throughout the spring season. They complement St. Patrick’s Day activities nicely. Rainbows can be used with a thematic unit on colors for preschool, kindergarten and first grade. They are perfect for science lessons and experiments relating to color, water and weather. One of my favorite teaching activities was a literature unit on The Wizard of Oz during which we did lots of rainbow activities and made colorful rainbow crafts to complement related writing projects. Plus rainbows are just bright and fun and bring happiness to the world… and classrooms! This post showcases a collection of books that can be used when teaching about rainbows.
8 Rainbow Books for Kids
These rainbow books for kids are great read alouds to share with elementary students.
1. The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
The first book on this list of rainbow books for kids is Drew Daywalt’s The Day the Crayons Quit.
Duncan’s crayons have decided to run away! They feel like Duncan has mistreated them, and are not going to take it anymore. Some crayons feel overworked and tired. Some crayons feel like they aren’t being used to their full potential. Other crayons are so worn down that they are just a stub.
Each crayon writes a letter to Duncan explaining why they left and providing different options for Duncan to use them properly. At the end, Duncan hears the crayons’ concerns and creates a picture using all of them in better ways. Students will love this story told from the point of view of crayons.
If you are interested in using this book for your next interactive read aloud, then check out these The Day the Crayons Quit activities.
2. The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt
The book, The Day the Crayons Came Home, by Drew Daywalt will have students laughing! It tells the story of a boy named Duncan and his missing crayons. One day, Duncan received a stack of postcards and discovered each was from one of his crayons!
The crayons have left the box for different reasons: maroon was lost in the couch, pea green wanted to see the world, and neon red was left at a hotel. Despite being gone for awhile, the crayons are all ready to come home for various reasons. When Duncan does collect all the crayons, he finds they no longer fit in the box! To make them feel at home, he makes them their own crayon fort!
This adorable story will have students laughing as the crayons share their challenges faced outside the box. If you are interested in using this book for your next interactive read aloud, then check out these The Day the Crayons Came Home activities.
3. Mixed: A Colorful Story by Arree Chung
The third book on the list of rainbow books for kids is Mixed: A Colorful Story. At first, there were only three colors in the story: red, blue and yellow. The reds were the loudest, the yellows were the brightest, and blues were the coolest. They all got along until the reds started to say there were the best. This made everyone upset and the three colors started fighting. It was decided that each color would live in different parts of the city.
One day Blue and Yellow become friends. Blue liked how happy he felt with Yellow and the Yellow like how calm Blue made him feel. The two colors mixed, everything started to change. At first the other colors were not happy, they didn’t think colors should mix. Yellow and Blue made an all new color together, green. Everyone was amazed by green and started mixing as well. Soon there was a brand new city full of new colors.
If you are interested in using this book for your next interactive read aloud, then check out these Mixed: A Colorful Story activities.
4. The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
In the book The Rainbow Fish, Rainbow Fish was unlike any of the other fish in the sea. He had sparkling, shimmering scales all over. The other fish were amazed by his beauty and always wanted Rainbow Fish to play with them.
One day, a little blue fish asked Rainbow Fish for one of his scales. Rainbow Fish was shocked! How could someone expect him to give up one of his beautiful scales? He was rude to the little fish, who swam away and told all his friends. After hearing about how Rainbow Fish treated the other fish, no one asked Rainbow Fish to play anymore. He found himself feeling very lonely.
Rainbow Fish went to see the octopus for advice. She told him that he should start giving the other fish some of his scales and that is how he would learn to be happy. Rainbow Fish was unsure at first. When he saw the little blue fish again, he decided to give away one small scale. The little fish was so happy, and so was Rainbow Fish. He decided to give away more scales to the other fish and was filled with so much joy. Everyone was so happy to have a shimmery scale and again everyone wanted to play with Rainbow Fish.
If you are interested in using this book for your next interactive read aloud, then check out these The Rainbow Fish activities.
5. That’s What Leprechauns Do by Eve Bunting
In the book That’s What Leprechauns Do, three leprechauns, Art, Boo, and Col, notice that rain clouds are making their way across the sky. They have an important leprechaun duty to complete so they begin to pack up their things and head out. While they agree that they don’t engage in mischief along the way, they find themselves causing some trouble. They paint a cow’s hooves red, tie a man’s pants together, and put a tennis ball inside a hen’s nest.
As the rainbow makes its way across the sky, the leprechauns realize they must make it to the end of the rainbow before it’s too late. When they get there, the three leprechauns dig up their pot of gold and place it at the end of the rainbow. Although they wait for a while, by the time the sky clears no one has come to find the pot of gold. Art, Boo, and Col put away the pot and head out to find more mischief.
If you are interested in using this book for your next interactive read aloud, then check out these That’s What Leprechauns Do activities.
6. A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni
In the sixth book on the list of rainbow books for kids, all animals have their own color, except chameleons. The chameleon in this book is tired of always changing colors, and wants to find a color of his own. He attempts to remain on a leaf forever so he does not change color, but the leaf changes color itself and eventually falls off the branch.
After a long cold winter, the chameleon ventures out into the grass when spring comes. He meets an older chameleon and asks if they will ever have a color of their own. The older chameleon suggests that the two stay together forever. Although they will change color, they will always be the same color as each other. This causes the chameleons to live a much happier life.
If you are interested in using this book for your next interactive read aloud, then check out these A Color of his Own activities.
7. Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld
In the book Cloudette, Cloudette was a small cloud, much smaller than the other clouds. She enjoyed some of the advantages of being small, like fitting in tight places and always finding a spot at the fireworks. However, at times Cloudette wished she was big and important. She watched the other clouds do things like rain, thunder and make rainbows and wished she could do that. She felt like no one needed a small cloud like her. Cloudette dreamed of creating a waterfall or causing a snow day.
If you are interested in using this book for your next interactive read aloud, then check out these Cloudette activities.
8. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
The last book on the list of rainbow books for kids is the book Harold and the Purple Crayon. One night, Harold decided he would go for a walk into the moonlight. However, there wasn’t a moon to give off light, so Harold drew one. He set off on his walk drawing his setting as he went. Harold ended up in a forest with an apple tree. He drew a dragon to guard the apples, but ended up getting scared and found himself in water over his head. Thankfully, Harold was able to draw a sailboat. The sailboat took him to a beach where he had a picnic with some friends.
After, Harold wanted to see where he was so he drew a tall mountain, hoping he could see his window. But when he falls off the mountain, Harold must draw a hot air balloon to catch himself. He lands and keeps looking for his window. Eventually he has created a whole city full of buildings with windows, but he still does not know where he is. Looking up at the moon, Harold remembers that the moon was always around his window! He is able to draw his window and his bed, and fall asleep.
Students will love following Harold on his evening adventure and watching the different illustrations he makes. If you are interested in using this book for your next interactive read aloud, then check out these Harold and the Purple Crayon activities.
Rainbow Activities for Kids
Below are some rainbow activities for kids that are appropriate for elementary students.
1. Sorting Activities
A very important early math skill is sorting. Students can sort by color, shape, and more. Consider creating a simple sorting activity for your students after readying aloud one of the rainbow books for kids listed above.
2. Spelling Activities
This spelling activities resource includes tons of engaging hands-on learning opportunities for students working on spelling and sight word practice. One of the activities is called Rainbow Words. In the Rainbow Words activity, students write their spelling words in pencil and then trace them using different colors. This ties in nicely with the rainbow activities mentioned in this post.
3. Rainbow Math Activities
The Wizard of Oz is one of my favorite read aloud books. There are so many versions ranging from the original by L. Frank Baum to picture books. The story lends itself to meaningul discussions about friendship, courage, being true to yourself and so much more.
When I taught my big Wizard of Oz unit and made rainbow crafts in my classroom, I always added some math practice in to make the activity not only fun, but also educational purposes. The strips of paper lend themselves to work with linear measurement. Teachers can have the students cut the strips to assigned lengths or can precut them and require the students to measure them and record their findings. You can cut the colors into different lengths and create line plots to display the results. Additionally, students can be surveyed about their favorite colors and the class can construct and interpret data from a bar graph or picture graph. Younger learners can sort by colors or count colored objects. As a writing connection, you can have your students write descriptive paragraphs about an object that is their favorite color or creative stories about rainbows.
Rainbow Crafts for Kids
After spending a week in sunny, green, flower-filled Florida, the northeast is looking really blah! We’re at that seasonal phase where winter has worn out its welcome. And I’m CRAVING color! Lots of color.
With St. Patrick’s Day on the horizon, I thought this would be a good time to post some ideas and resources focused on rainbows. These could also be used as part of a thematic unit on colors. These rainbow crafts would look great on a bulletin board to complement any of the resources mentioned in this post.
Additional Related Resources
We hope you found this list of rainbow books for kids helpful! If you did, then you may also be interested in these posts: