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By Susan Mallette

Enjoy learning about rainbows, counting to 20, making rainbows, eating rainbow toast and playing together with Don Freeman’s book A Rainbow of My Own.

Title: A Rainbow of My Own, by Don Freeman
Ages: 2-7
Summary: A young boy runs outside to catch a rainbow. When he comes to where the rainbow should be, he finds it is gone. The boy imagines another rainy day when a rainbow follows him and they play together.

Language Arts
Children will enjoy acting out scenes from the book using the descriptive words and phrases Freeman wrote to make the story come alive. Talk about how writers use words to paint “hearing pictures,” and then ask your child to act out the following descriptive phrases.

· Walk slowly
· Hear a soft whirring sound
· Hop
· Leap
· Climb
· Slide
· Swing

The boy plays hide and seek with his rainbow. He shuts his eyes, counts to 20 and then looks all around for his friend the rainbow.

Practice counting to 20 with your child; you say one number and have him say the next, or try saying all the numbers together as you point to them written on a sheet of paper. When he’s ready, let him count to 20 while you hide, and then you count to 20 while he hides. If you have already made your rainbow (directions below), you could take turns hiding the rainbow from each other while one of you counts to 20.

The boy returns home and finds a real rainbow in his room. The sun is shinning through the water in his goldfish bowl and a real rainbow is dancing on his wall.

Try making a rainbow of your own:

What you need:
A clear glass filled with water
A window
A sunny day
A piece of white paper

What to do:
Put the glass of water on a sheet of white paper in front of a sunny window. Look at the paper; you will see a rainbow!

Explain to your child that in order to see a rainbow, it has to rain and the sun has to be out. The raindrops reflect the sunlight. The white light from the sun has many colors in it, but we can’t see those colors all the time, only when we see them through the water of the rain -- or in your experiment above, through the water in the glass.

Make a rainbow for your child to play with, just like the boy in A Rainbow of My Own.

What you need:
Construction or crepe paper in the following colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, dark purple or indigo and violet
A toilet paper or paper towel tube
Scissors, tape and markers or paint

What to do:
Cut long strips of construction or crepe paper in the colors of a rainbow. Tape one end of each strip into the inside of the toilet paper or paper towel tube. Use markers or paint to color the tube in the colors of the rainbow, too.

Now you can swing your rainbow around, let it chase you by holding it behind you as you run and try to hop over it or dance with it. Explain to your child that the colors of the rainbow are always seen in the same order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

Cooking: Rainbow Toast

What you need:
12 tablespoons of milk
4 unused paint brushes
White bread
4 different colors of food coloring: red, blue, yellow, green

What to do:
Put three tablespoons of milk into four different cups. Add a few drops of different food coloring to each cup. You will have red, blue, yellow and green milk. (Tip: You can make orange milk by adding red and yellow together. Make purple milk with red and blue.) Now paint the white bread with different colors to make a rainbow. Toast, add butter and eat -- rainbow toast!

Natural Parenting Tip
Playing with your child in a way that makes books come to life by doing art projects, pretending to be in the book or doing science experiments that explain a concept in a book help children enjoy reading. They see how fun it is to learn new things they read about. The process of playing together with books makes great memories, too. Read together and play with your books -- these two ingredients make great family relationships and lifelong readers.

Susan Regan Mallette, a former English teacher, spends her time homeschooling, writing curriculum and homemaking. See more about Susan.


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