How to Make a Rainbow

Did you know the light around us ( white light ) is called is actually made up of all the colours of the rainbow.

Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet

Rainbows are seen in the sky opposite the sun and are caused by the refraction ( bending of light ) and dispersion ( splitting up ) of sunlight in drops of rain or mist. Sunlight hitting the rain or mist is dispersed into its constituent colours this is because the light is reflected at varying angles, creating a rainbow because the different colours refract and bend by different amounts. Each colour of the rainbow has a different wavelength.



Refraction is when light bends as it passes through a transparent material for example, glass, prisms, rain drops.

How to make a rainbow on a sunny day

Did you know you can make a rainbow with a hosepipe? We wrote a guest post about this for The Consortium so do read the full instructions over there.

If you have a sunny day you can also make a rainbow with a prism.


Or try placing a mirror inside a glass and angling the glass so sunlight hits the mirror. You should be able to reflect a rainbow onto the wall.

Make a rainbow without the sun

Place a mirror inside a glass and shine a torch onto it until you can see a rainbow reflected onto the wall. You might have to adjust the angle of the glass to make it work.


If you can make a room very dark you might also be able to see a rainbow by shining a torch through a prism.

Can you spot a rainbow inside bubbles?

Rainbow Crafts

Make some rainbow paper like The Science Kiddo

How about a rainbow bubble snake like Housing a Forest?

We love this rainbow scavenger hunt from Hands on as we Grow.

Or how about a giant rainbow collage like The Imagination Tree?

How to make a rainbow


Suitable for Key Stage 2 Science

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