When it comes to craft and activities for very young children, you really want to keep things simple, right?! Because when you get right down to it, toddlers have a pretty short attention span so you don’t want to spend too much energy setting up that craft table only to have it played with for mere minutes.
So we’ve gathered together some of the best – and prettiest! – rainbow craft activities you can do with littlies that will be fun to do and won’t take up too much time to set up and pack away. We can’t promise that there won’t be any mess though!
But first! A note on making your own rainbow colours
A lot of craft activities that make pretty rainbow colours require some kind of dying of craft supplies. While food colouring is often the quick go-to for this job, we recommend using liquid watercolours for these jobs – not only are they washable (so less staining of hands and clothing), the colours are brighter and the bottles will go a long way.
1. Rainbow soap foam bubbles
There is something so gloriously calming about swishing your hands through soap bubbles – so why not turn this into a sensory activity your kids will love?
All you need to do is mix two tablespoons of dishwashing liquid with a quarter of a cup of water, a dash of colour and then mix, mix, mix with a kitchen mixer on the highest possible setting for a couple of minutes until stiff peaks form. Just like egg whites really.
Tip the coloured foam into a plastic container and repeat to create as many colours as you like.
Once you know the secret to making soap foam bubbles, they’ll be no stopping the fun!
Get the full instructions at Fun At Home With Kids
2. Taste-safe rainbow finger paints
There’s something really lovely about making your own paints at home. Not only do you know exactly what’s gone into them – no hidden nasties! – but you can always have art supplies at the ready.
These paints are totally safe for little kids to taste-test, being made with a handful of pantry ingredients, and they feel delightfully smooth which makes them perfect for finger painting.
Get the instructions at Fireflies and Mud Pies
3. Rainbow ice balls
You’re going to need an ice ball mould for this activity, but once you have that, the rest is really simple to do – and there is nothing like a tumble of icy balls to keep an inquisitive toddler occupied on a warm day.
Get the instructions at Craftulate
4. Rainbow salt tray play
Salt trays are a favourite learning tool in Montesorri education but there’s no reason you can’t make one at home yourself – and even if your kids are too young to be using it to learn their letters, they are certainly going to have loads of fun making squiggles in the salt. And even better if they have a pretty rainbow to uncover at the bottom.
Get instructions at Natural Beach Living
5. Rainbow play dough
When it comes to making play dough at home, there are a million recipes you can choose from. But this lovely recipe will give you super-soft dough that doesn’t get sticky and will stay pliable for months if you keep it in a ziplock bag in the fridge.
And with a dash of colouring added to each batch, you can create the entire rainbow for fun playtimes.
Get the instructions at Emma Owl
6. Rainbow spaghetti sensory activity
Squidgy sensory play like this tub full of coloured cooked spaghetti is such fun and kids of all ages will be begging to get their hands in for a play.
A couple of drops of oil mixed in with the cooked spaghetti as you add the colour will help keep the pasta soft and pliable.
Get the instructions at Little Learning Club
7. Rainbow sensory tray
Sensory trays are a great way to stimulate your child’s senses and all manner of things can be put in for play. We’re loving this rainbow popcorn tray – although this activity is not appropriate for very young children because of the small pieces – because as well as being lovely and tactical, it also encourages fine motor skills.
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❤️🍿🧡🍿💛🍿💚🍿💙 . 🍿 RAINBOW POPCORN. 🍿 . 💜Some calming sensory play was just what was need this afternoon. So I setup this #simplesensory_playtime #trayfortheday for Roo using a rainbow of dyed popcorn kernels!! 💜 . 💖 I was sooo excited to show Roo this because I just love a bit of rainbow play, but sometimes over enthusiasm can kill a play tray before it’s even started, so I kept quiet and just put it in the floor for him to explore…and away he went!👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 💖 . 💛Roo got busy straight away sorting the colours and told me in no uncertain terms that I was not to join in!😆 So I sat and watched as he created ice creams and cakes for me and all his friends…especially Bodkin! 💛 . 💚I’m not going to lie, dying the popcorn was a real labour of love, but the kernels are so bright and it looks sooo pretty all mixed together!😅 I added pots, jars, spoons and tweezers. 💚 . 🌈Thé lovely @rachelmoffatt is guest judge over @a.pop.of.culture this week with their ‘Over The Rainbow’ theme. Join her and @adventures.in.mommyland and @4kids2moms for lots of rainbowy fun this week. 🌈 . 💙Take a look at this wonderful team for more fabulous toddler play ideas and share your play with us using #TODDLERPLAYINJUNE 💙 . 🧡@instaplay_kids @7daysofplay @acoldcupoftea @babyplay123 @bodkinandroo @eatplay.andlove @everydaybabyplay @mumtomessyboys @notmessyjustlearning @play_4_today @rachelmoffatt13 @resolvetoplay @thecraftymamma @toddler_and_mummy 🧡 . ✨ ✨ ✨ #keeplittlebodsbusy #apopofculture #amindfulmomentofplay @carlastreasure @tinker_tray_play #welovesummerplay #letsplaytheirway @letsplaymama #tagfromtheheart @montessorifromtheheart @happytotshelf #rainbowplay #rainbowfun #rainbowactivity #sensorybin #sensoryplayideas #colourfulkids #playtray #trayplayactivities #letthemplay #playishardwork #playiswork #learningthroughplay #playfullearning #funwithtoddlers #havingfunathome #kidsactivities #simpleactivities #simpleplay #sensorybins #sensorybinactivity #sensorytray