Since rainbows are so much fun, I thought it would be awesome to use them for a learning activity (you know, so learning is fun too!) I am currently working with my oldest son on reading, so I wanted to try something along those lines.
The Rainbow Sentence Building Activity has many layers to it that you can teach. Some of these are above the level my son is at, but you can work your way up to the different educational opportunities. I will give brief tips on each way to use this craft.
This will require a little know-how from parents, but you can find many great English resources and sight word printables online if you need some extra guidance. My suggestion would be to take this in small chunks at a time. Start off with 5-10 words per category and you can always add more or change them up later!
Some of the lessons this activity can teach include:
- Sight words
- Story telling
- A vs. an
- Generic sentence structure
- Parts of a sentence
- Sentence inflection
What You Need
- Construction paper (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, white)
- Markers (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, black)
- Glue stick (optional)
1. There are a few ways you can set up this rainbow craft. Choose which version you want to do and follow the instructions:
A. Make strips for the rainbow as I have done in my project (more like a puzzle.)
B. Make half-circle shapes that layer on top of each other.
C. Use a printout of a rainbow and cut out each section instead of using construction paper.
2. I started with the smallest section of the rainbow, red, and cut out a small bow. Keep in mind when you are cutting this that you will need to fit the larger bows (violet being the biggest) on the same size piece of construction paper. If needed, cut out a large bow first in violet and then the smallest bow in red. If you are doing method B, you only need to cut the outer layer of the rainbow and not cut out the center.
3. Trace your red bow onto the orange piece of paper at the bottom middle. You only need to trace the top as this will be the base for the orange where it meets the red. Cut a strip an inch or so out to make the orange bow larger than the red. If you are doing option B you can omit the tracing if desired.
4. Continue cutting this way (layer the last size onto the next size and cut out strips of each.) Color order should be red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet like an actual rainbow (minus the indigo color.) You can choose to make one rainbow and reuse each strip or make several of each color.
5. Once you have your rainbow cut out, place the white construction paper near the base and draw a cloud that will cover the width of one end of the bow. Cut this out. You will need to make three of these.
6. If you decided to make multiple cutouts of each color, you can write words directly onto the construction paper bows or glue words onto them. If you choose to reuse one of each, cut out thin strips of white construction paper and write a bunch of words on them and cut out each word. Draw each punctuation mark, one per cloud.
7. On each word, put the color to the coordination location that word should fit on the rainbow (make a colored key if you are teaching parts of a sentence.) Here is what each color should stand for:
- Violet = article (a, an, the)
- Blue = adjective (describes a noun, i.e. a color or descriptive word)
- Green = noun (person, place, thing, or idea)
- Yellow = helping verb (AKA auxiliary verbs, for more instruction on these, see HERE)
- Orange = verb (an action, keep in mind this verb will have to work with a helping verb)
- Red = adverb (describes a verb)
- White = end punctuation (period, exclamation, question mark)
How to Use For Teaching
Choose simple sight words for your sentence (i.e. the, green, car, is, driving, down) and make it repetitive. Have your child try to identify the sight words and read the sentence independently.
Have your child match the colors on the word papers to the colors on the rainbow. If this will be your sole focus at this point, make sure all the words are interchangeable to create the sentence and see what silly sentences your little one makes.
Let your child tell a story by carefully selecting the words to create a sentence. Make a few different sentences and write them down on another piece of paper to tell a story.
Add in a few plural nouns (and even nouns like “fish” or “deer” that can be plural or singular) and their coordinating articles, helping verbs. For instance, “A black dog is bouncing quickly” versus “The black dogs are bouncing quickly.”
A vs. An
Some words need an article “a” and some need “an.” For instance “a spice” vs. “an herb” or “an orange.” Help your child identify which words need “a” and which words need “an.”
Use words that rhyme like “black rack” or “slow doe” and let your child choose the adjective that rhymes with the noun. You can even get the adverbs involved.
Generic Sentence Structure
How do we build a basic sentence? Now, I know there are all sorts of ways to write and order the words of a sentence, but you need a place to start. “The dog ran” is a great place to start, but show your child how and where you can add in add in adjectives, helping verbs, adverbs, and end punctuation. You can worry about more complex sentences later. This activity will be self-correcting so the sentence will always be in order.
Throw in a few verbs of different tenses like “were driving”, “go fishing”, “do love”, or “is leaving” and have your child identify the tenses and match the proper helping verbs with the verbs.
Parts of a Sentence
Help your child identify parts of a sentence (article, adjective, noun, helping/auxiliary verb, verb, adverb, end punctuation mark) and learn the meaning of each. Match each word to its proper category for an introduction to each (some can be placed in multiple categories, but you can worry about that later on and keep this simple.)
Use those punctuation marks! Help your child read the sentence adding different punctuation. Is your child asking a question? Maybe they are just stating something. Either way would work great!
Bonus tip: After you cut out the rainbows, you can use the scraps to make even more rainbows! Use them for more word building activities and rainbow crafts or frame them as rainbow wall art!
Check out these other awesome rainbow posts:
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-What rainbow teaching activity will you try first?
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