SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS FOR KIDS
HOW TO MAKE RAINBOW PAPER
A fun science project for your kids to do, rain or shine
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Everybody loves rainbows! They’re one of the most beautiful natural wonders and cheer us up on even the rainiest of days. Wouldn’t it be great if you had a rainbow that you could bring inside?
Rainbows are created when sunlight reflects of of raindrops, causing the light to split into a display of different colors. But you won’t need any rain for this project – you’ll just use nail polish and water to create a rainbow effect on a piece of paper. When you’re done, your child will have their own piece of the rainbow – without having to put on their raincoat.
- A bowl filled with water
- Clear nail polish
- Small pieces of black construction paper (quarter sheets work well)
- Paper towels for drying your artwork
THEN DO THIS:
- Add 1 drop of clear nail polish to the bowl of water. Watch it spread over the surface of the water.
- Quickly dip the paper into the water on top of the nail polish.
- Set the paper on a paper towel to dry.
- Once the nail polish is dry (this only takes a few minutes), tilt the paper at different angles to see the rainbow patterns appear. It’s easiest to see next to a sunny window, and the colors will look even more vibrant as the paper dries.
- What colors are you seeing in the rainbow?
- How does light affect what you see?
WHAT IS HAPPENING?
When you dip the paper into the water it gets coated with a thin layer of nail polish, and the rainbow colors you see are caused by a process called “thin film interference.” This is the same effect you will see when oil mixes with water on the road on rainy days!
WHAT THIS TEACHES:
Skills: Fine motor skills, observation, scientific method
Themes: Reflection & refraction of light waves, thin film interference