Paper rainbows and the ten second rule

I hope you like rainbows because I really do love them and with St. Patrick’s Day and spring weather just around the corner, I have rainbows on the brain for almost an entire month!  Today our rainbow activity included a little paper rainbow sorting and designing…

Each child started by selecting paper strips – they needed to sort through all the colors until they were able to find each color of the rainbow…

Once the children found each color of the rainbow, then they spread the paper strips out on their paper in rainbow color order. As the children spread out their strips, they sang a simple rainbow song that was  taught to the entire class by one of my students (he learned it at home and taught it to us)….

Once the children had their strips selected and sorted in rainbow order, I showed them how to glue the ends of each strip to their paper leaving the paper arched in the middle and using the 10 second rule…

The 10 second rule is to remember that once you add glue to each end of your paper strip then you press and hold your fingers on both ends of the paper for 10 seconds (counting the seconds out loud) so the paper will stay on the glue and not pop up…


We had lots of out loud counting going on all at the same time.  Some children even counted well past the number 10 to make doubly sure the ends of their paper stayed firmly in place…

And the children took the liberty to glue their rainbow colored strips anywhere and any way they wanted on their paper…

Some of arches went over and under each other…

The children worked on this for some time and the creative rainbow designs were quite beautiful and quite elaborate…

I wasn’t sure if some of these would stand up but they did quite well. The children were patient and worked like little “engineers” creating their own rainbow towers…

A couple of things I want to mention to help you know why these kids are so incredible at this process….

  1. The children doing this activity are in Pre-Kindergarten
  2. The children have constructed with paper strips before so this wasn’t their first experience with the 10 second rule or creating 3D paper strip structures.

Links to Grow On…

If you are looking for more rainbow ideas you can see the rainbow links I have saved on Pinterest or Delicious!

Rainbow books from Amazon…



Linking up with: The Outlaw Mom Rainbow Link-Up

By |2012-03-07T21:32:03+00:00March 7th, 2012|

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. Roopa March 7, 2012 at 9:37 pm - Reply

    This is a very unique rainbow and love the idea of making arches!! Beatiful

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 8, 2012 at 10:08 pm - Reply

      Thank you Roopa!

  2. Leeanne A March 7, 2012 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    I really do love this – great lesson and good to look at!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 8, 2012 at 10:08 pm - Reply

      Isn’t it lovely? I didn’t want to send ours home but the kids insisted!!

  3. Mandi@BBM March 7, 2012 at 9:58 pm - Reply

    This is such a cool craft! We were just talking about making our leperachaun traps, and my 7-year-old wants to incorporate a rainbow into his. I think this would be perfect!!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 8, 2012 at 10:08 pm - Reply

      Oooh, that would be perfect!

  4. Esther March 7, 2012 at 10:26 pm - Reply

    We heart rainbows and this is so wonderful! the 3d collage heart art is also my favorite!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 8, 2012 at 10:07 pm - Reply

      I love those hearts too!

  5. Ali March 7, 2012 at 10:30 pm - Reply

    I love your 10 second rule, I am going to use that we my daughter. She does get a bit frustrated when things don’t stick immediately. Lovely rainbows too.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 8, 2012 at 10:07 pm - Reply

      The 10 second rule really helps my students at least understand why the paper didn’t stick – that it takes some effort and realization that you play a role in the process:)

  6. crystal@growingajeweledrose March 7, 2012 at 10:38 pm - Reply

    Yet another great rainbow related activity. I think Rosie would really like this one too. She really is rainbow obsessed right now.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 8, 2012 at 10:06 pm - Reply

      Haha – so am I:)

  7. Holly March 7, 2012 at 10:42 pm - Reply

    Very cute! I may try this next week to go along with St. Patrick’s Day. 🙂

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 8, 2012 at 10:06 pm - Reply

      Let me know how it goes!

  8. Sue at SOS-Supply March 8, 2012 at 7:11 am - Reply

    What a fabulous idea! Thanks for sharing

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 8, 2012 at 10:06 pm - Reply

      I surely will Sue! Thanks for dropping by!

  9. heather at wordplayhouse® March 8, 2012 at 7:54 am - Reply

    Deborah, a wonderful part of the way you led this project was that you allowed the kids to pick the correct colors out themselves. Too often projects are so organized and set up that the children don’t have to do any thinking for themselves…just copying. This was guided in such a way that they were using what they had already learned about the colors of the rainbow and integrating it into this project. Nicely done.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 8, 2012 at 10:05 pm - Reply

      Thank you for seeing all those aspects of the teaching I try to share! Your comment is so rewarding to me!

  10. Rachelle | TinkerLab March 8, 2012 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful project, Deborah! I love how this incorporates learning colors of the rainbow, counting, and patience. You’re a genius!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 8, 2012 at 10:02 pm - Reply

      Thank you Rachelle:) I just love simple learning processes like this. Complex and yet simple:)

  11. corrie March 8, 2012 at 6:26 pm - Reply

    I love how you think all the kids work is beautiful.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 8, 2012 at 10:01 pm - Reply

      Thank you Corrie – When I look back through my photos at the end of a day, I always feel such pride in what these kids can do:)

  12. Little Wonders' Days March 8, 2012 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    These are great! I like the 3D look. I love the ten second rule. I’ve never thought to teach the kids to count while waiting for glue to start sticking.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 9, 2012 at 3:55 pm - Reply

      The 10 second rule is actually a skill all by itself:)

  13. stacy March 8, 2012 at 11:54 pm - Reply

    Oh how fun, we’re going to try this next week while the kids are home for spring break!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 9, 2012 at 3:54 pm - Reply

      Yay! Have fun!

  14. Cheryl V. March 10, 2012 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    LOVE the rainbows and the 10 second rule! So, will you share the words of the song they sang?. . . AND, have you ever told the story about the man at the end of the rainbow Roy G. Biv to help them learn/remember their color order?. . . I find even books often have the order wrong and my students will catch it and want to correct it! 🙂 (Roy G. Biv = Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo & Violet. Great color word discussions in that lesson, too! 🙂

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 10, 2012 at 1:19 pm - Reply

      I haven’t heard that book! I love that it shares all the different colors of the rainbow though since we tend to focus only on the basic 6 colors. This song was very simple. You start at the bottom of a scale and just go up “red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple too!”

  15. Amanda April 26, 2012 at 10:54 pm - Reply

    We use a five second rule with our gel glue because they sometimes get frustrated that its not coming out of the bottle right away. Our five second rule is that once you flip the bottle over you count to five (which with our half full bottles this has been plenty of time) and then you can start to squeeze and the glue will come out. I like the idea of teaching them to hold it for ten seconds to make arches we may have to give this a try with all the paper strips that were donated to our class.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. April 30, 2012 at 11:41 pm - Reply

      I never thought about using the five second rule for waiting for the glue to come out of the bottle! That is an excellent idea!

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