Rainbow sensory play plus a rainbow linky!

I have a tendency to over-think or worry about what I plan for the children to do! Last week I decided that we should try adding rainbow bottles to our activity boxes…

To make the colorful rainbow bottles, we simply filled the bottles about 3/4 of the way with water, added about 1/2 cup of cooking oil, and then added a few drops of food color. Then we used hot glue to permanently attach the lids so they wouldn’t open up while the children played….

The problem for me was that I worried that just setting out these bottles would only be of short interest to the children…

I kept thinking I should add something to go along with the bottles – something more challenging or engaging like a game mat…

But I didn’t have time so we just set them out with nothing else. When I observed the children this week, I realized that just the novelty of them captured their interest. The older children kept rearranging the colors and some of them came back over and over to put them back in “rainbow order”…

But the age group that I got the biggest kick out of was watching the threes….

Their teacher said, “I thought the children would get bored but I have set them out every day and there is aways someone here playing with the bottles.”

The threes like to trade them…

They like to see how many they can hold at one time…

The like to shake and roll them…

And they like to organize them…

While playing with the bottles – the children share with each other, talk with each other, copy each other, and they are very careful with the bottles!

Some day, I am going to learn to not underestimate how much children love to play with and manipulate materials like this and all I need to do is just get out of the way…

Check out these beautiful photos of preschool rainbow ideas from Katherine Marie Photography!

Linky Up Your Preschool Rainbow Activity

I have seen some amazing rainbow activities that I want to share so I am also going to open this up as a Preschool Rainbow linky just because there are so many rainbow activities you all have posted that I just love. I hope you will linky up!  Oh and by the way – if you added a linky to my Dr. Suess post – I don’t know what happened to the photos but I fixed them all now:)

Rainbow books available on Amazon…



By |2011-03-16T10:00:30+00:00March 16th, 2011|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Scott March 16, 2011 at 11:52 am - Reply

    “all I need to do is get out of the way” – such a good thing to remember as a teacher and so often I forget. Thanks for the reminder.

    Love those bottles!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 16, 2011 at 10:26 pm - Reply

      Scott – I wish you could have been here to see this kids play with the bottles! I took more photos today of a twos class playing with them. Because I hot glued all the lids – one little boy spent his ENTIRE time trying to take the lid off! Poor guy!

  2. Candace March 16, 2011 at 12:11 pm - Reply

    Thanks so much for the ideas and linky! My posts are all coming up with the same thumbnail. I will try again later and you can feel free to delete the ones that came out funny!

  3. Candace March 16, 2011 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    Working now for me–so #10 & #11 were mess-ups…sorry about that!

    I’m off to check out some of the other fun posts…and I totally agree about just getting out of the way of their play–a lot of times that is the best strategy!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 16, 2011 at 10:25 pm - Reply

      No worries – I will go through all the posts here in a bit and fix any problems I can fix:)

  4. KM March 16, 2011 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    Something so magical about COLORFUL rainbows!!! Our karo syrup rainbow bottles were a big hit… but I was like you I wanted to ADD more, DO more… I completely agree with Scott’s comment!!!! Thanks for the reminder that sometimes all we need to do is GET OUT OF THE WAY and let them PLAY and EXPLORE! :):):) THANKS for all your inspiration!

  5. Rachel March 16, 2011 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    Hot gluing the lids on is genius c:
    We made something similar – actually exactly the same, in jars with wider openings.Then we added glitter and poured some salt on top to make lava lamps! So cool. The salts globs together with the oil and sinks to the bottom in big blobs, and then after a little while, the blobs rise back up to the top. We watched this process while shining a torch from behind the jar. The glitter stays suspended in the oil – and if it rises to the top, we just shake the jars. You can keep adding salt, as often as you like to make it work. When our lamps are not in use, they are lined up along a window, like little sun catchers c:

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 16, 2011 at 10:24 pm - Reply

      Ooooh – what a great idea Rachel! I am going to make this for sure – then blog about it:) I will give you the credit for sharing this when I get myself caught up and organized!!

  6. Kelly March 16, 2011 at 4:07 pm - Reply

    Fun project. This is a great linky!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 16, 2011 at 10:23 pm - Reply

      Thank you Kelly – I just LOVE rainbows!!!

  7. Laura (The SEEDS Network) March 16, 2011 at 6:43 pm - Reply

    I just have to say … what absolutely GORGEOUS pictures from Katherine Marie Photography!! I also really love the colored sensory bottles – definitely something we will try! We’ll be planning a rainbow day in the spring, will add that to our list of things!!!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 16, 2011 at 10:22 pm - Reply

      Aren’t they gorgeous! I always love her photos and get all excited when she posts a new set to her blog!

  8. Pam March 16, 2011 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    I had to laugh a bit at this…not at you- but because I often do the same thing…overthink what I’m doing with the children! Today I set up (what I thought) was a great new idea in the sensory table! I had one little guy who sat on the floor the entire time dumping the beans on the floor and picking them up one by one! I think his thought was- “Why did she ruin the sensory table!” He was quite happy dumping and filling! Forget the extra stuff I added!

    • Pam March 16, 2011 at 7:43 pm - Reply

      ugh- I couldn’t tell if the link worked- sorry- maybe not there at all…maybe twice 🙂 I tried to add a link!

      • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 16, 2011 at 10:20 pm

        Thanks for adding the link – I will check them all out and see how it is going. I haven’t had a chance to get online yet!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 16, 2011 at 10:21 pm - Reply

      Haha! I love it!

  9. neha juneja April 13, 2011 at 12:24 am - Reply

    Your blog is am aazing!!!!!!!!!!!
    very inspirational. Love all the activities.
    as soon as i watch them feel like to do them .

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