How To Explain A Rainbow To A Child

By Nidhi Nangia. Updated: January 20, 2017
How To Explain A Rainbow To A Child

You must be dealing with a lot of ‘whys’ from your child, and your little scientist might be wondering about how a rainbow just appears in the sky. Explaining the scientific formation of a rainbow to your child is a little difficult, as he may not be able to understand it easily. A rainbow primarily centers around refraction of light, and you might face some difficulty in explaining this to your little one. So, here at, we will tell you how to explain a rainbow to a child, in such a way that he does not get confused with so many scientific terms, and at the same time understands the idea behind it.

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Steps to follow:

First of all, check what your child already knows about the rainbow. Ask him has he ever noticed when a rainbow appears in the sky. Does he know that it appears only after the rain? Explain to him that all the water in the rain does not fall on the ground, and there is still some water in the air after the rain has stopped. This water in the air makes it moist.


Ask him if he remembers a time when he saw fog or mist in the air. Explain him that the air around the area where he sees a rainbow has a lot of water in it, just like the mist or fog he saw by the garden or farm. The drops may not be clearly visible, because they are very small, but they are present for sure.


Explain to him that light refracts as it hits water, thus forming colors. This can be a tricky part to explain to a child. To make it easier, put a glass of water in front of a lamp or on a window ledge with sun exposure. Show him how the reflected light on other side of the glass does not look exactly like the lamp. This is because the light gets spread out into random odd shapes.


Explain to him that at all times, sunlight has all the colors that you can see in the rainbow, but they are not visible normally, other than in a rainbow. Another way to explain this is to use a mirror and let the sunlight reflect onto a wall. If you place the mirror in the right angle, you will be able to see stripes of color, similar to a rainbow.


Be around your child when he plays with a mirror to find the right angle to make his own rainbows. Show him how he needs to tilt the mirror in a particular direction so as to see all colors of the rainbow. Explain to him that a rainbow can be seen only from the right angle, under the right conditions.

If you want to read similar articles to How To Explain A Rainbow To A Child, we recommend you visit our Learning category.

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How To Explain A Rainbow To A Child
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