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Rainbow Facts for Kids: Colorful Mysteries Unveiled

Rainbows are one of the earliest ways kids learn about different colors. What’s better to teach them about those colorful bows than with Rainbow facts! So let’s talk about some rainbow facts for kids.

rainbow facts for kids

What Is a Rainbow?

A rainbow is a multicolored arc that forms in the sky when sunlight shines through raindrops. It’s a splendid display of colors that can light up the sky after a rain shower. They occur when the sun’s light bends by the rain droplets in the air, creating beautiful colors of the visible spectrum. 

These colorful arcs are not only beautiful to look at but also hold a variety of fun facts that are sure to capture the curiosity of young children and older ones too!

I bet you didn’t know that each rainbow is a complete circle of light, but most people see only an arc, formed by the horizon obscuring the lower part. A full circle of rainbow would be about impossible to see. 


A few Interesting facts are;

Did you know that no two people see the exact same rainbow? Because everyone is standing in a slightly different place and at different angles, and because the rainbow is the result of light being reflected off of different raindrops, each person’s view is unique. This makes the experience of spotting your own rainbow a personal and memorable one.

Also, white light is a combination of all colors in the color spectrum and is compromised by the colors in a rainbow. 

Colors of a Rainbow

Rainbows display a spectrum of different colours in a specific order: redorangeyellowgreenblueindigo, and violet (roy g biv). Fun fact; this order never changes!  A way for kids to remember this sequence of rainbow color is with the acronym ROYGBIV. 

These colors are created by the bending of light, which separates it into different wavelengths.

Formation of Rainbows

Rainbows are formed by refractionreflection, and dispersion of light in water droplets resulting in a spectrum of light appearing in the sky. It takes the form of a different colors in a circular arc. 

Rainbows caused by sunlight always appear in the section of sky in the opposite direction of the sun or the light source. Isn’t that cool?

Different Types of Rainbows

Rainbows are natural spectacles with various forms and features. They typically occur when sunlight breaks into its spectrum of colors and reflects back to the viewer.

Primary and Secondary Rainbows

Primary rainbows are the most common type, featuring red on the outer edge and violet on the inside. They form when light is refracted and internally reflected inside water droplets. 

A secondary bow appears outside the primary arc with colors in reverse order. The second rainbow happens when light is reflected twice within droplets, causing the red to appear on the inside and violet on the outside. These two together are called a double rainbow. 

  • Primary Rainbow: Red on the outer edge, violet on the inside
  • Secondary Rainbow: Violet on the outer edge, red on the inside

Supernumerary Rainbows

Supernumerary rainbows are faint arcs that appear inside the primary rainbow, closer to the violet end. They are created by interference and are characterized by their pastel, almost striped, pattern of additional colors.

  • Characteristics:
    • Fainter than primary bows
    • Pastel, stripe-like colors
    • Located inside the primary rainbow, near the violet side

Difference between supernumerary rainbows and secondary rainbows

The supernumeraries are the thin bands just inside the inner edge of the primary bow. They form as a result of how light waves interact with small water drops. This is different from the primary and secondary rainbows that result from refraction and reflection of light inside larger raindrops. 

Rainbow Crafts

We are no stranger to creating fun rainbow crafts around here. One of my favorite rainbow crafts is a very teachable one. It’s called the walking rainbow! Not only can you teach kids about the colors of a rainbow, but you can also teach about something called capillary action while watching the colors climb a paper towel!

walking rainbow science experiment

Another fun rainbow craft is learning how to draw a rainbow with a free rainbow printable! This is a great craft activity for younger kids.

how to color a rainbow

Also, if you are looking for loads of other fun rainbow crafts, I’ve got a post with lots to choose from.

rainbow crafts for kids

Maybe you want to teach your kids more interesting facts. Check out a few other posts on 30 Interesting Cactus Facts, 50 Interesting Revolutionary War Facts for Kids and Rosa Parks Facts for Kids.

Enough about crafts, back to a few more interesting rainbow facts

Rainbows in Culture

Rainbows have been around since the ancient times. There are a few different beliefs on rainbows and I’ll discuss them below.

Mythology and Symbolism

In various cultures, rainbows are seen as bridges to the divine or as powerful symbols. 

For instance, in Norse mythology, the rainbow, known as Bifröst, is depicted as a burning bridge connecting the realms of the humans (Midgard) to the Gods (Asgard). 

Irish legend says that leprechauns hide their pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, showcasing it as a symbol of treasure and prosperity. 

Rainbows in Literature

In literature, rainbows often symbolize hope and new beginnings.

The famous line from The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, “Somewhere over the rainbow,” means a sense of wonder and the limitless potential of dreams.

Rainbows in the Bible

In the Bible, the rainbow is mentioned in the story of Noah’s Ark in the book of Genesis. After the great flood, which was sent to cleanse the world of its wickedness, God made a covenant with Noah, his descendants, and every living creature that He would never again destroy all life with a flood.

The rainbow is described as the sign of this covenant. Genesis 9:13-16 (NIV) reads:

“I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

In biblical terms, a beautiful rainbow is a symbol of God’s promise and mercy—a reminder that the earth will not be destroyed by flood again.

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