Chasing Rainbows: A Storytime about Colors

Since there were two holidays related to color this week (Holi and St. Patrick’s Day), I decided to combine them both into a storytime about colors. Here’s what we did:


Rainbow Stew by Cathryn Falwell

This book worked perfectly because it was cloudy and damp in the park today, just like the weather in the book. This is a sweet, rhyming book about three children gathering a rainbow of veggies for their grandfather’s famous Rainbow Stew.

Festival of Colors by Kabir & Suristha Sehgal; illustrated by Vashti Harrison

This is a beautiful book about two kids gathering different types of flowers to crush into colored powders to celebrate the Indian holiday, Holi. When we got to the part where “Poof!” the kids start throwing different colors into the air, my coworker Claire threw colorful play scarves into the crowd. It was a big hit!

Good Luck, Bear by Greg Foley

This one was admittedly a bit of a stretch for St. Patrick’s Day, but it’s challenging to find St. Patrick’s Day books that are short enough for our storytime crowds. Before I read it, I talked a little bit about St. Patrick’s Day, and held up a picture of a shamrock. I pointed out that shamrocks look similar to clover, (which coincidentally grows all over the picnic area where we hold the storytime), and that many people think that it’s lucky to find a four leaf clover. This is a short cute, story about Bear’s unsuccessful hunt for a lucky clover.


Rainbow Round Me by Ruth Pelham

We sang this one after reading Rainbow Stew. I asked the kids to suggest things they might see outside their window. We had a purple dinosaur, a pink horse, a green bear, and a green dog:

When I [C] look outside my [G7] window,
There’s a world of color I [C] see.
Fiddle-dee-dee, [F] outside my [C] window 
There’s a [G7] world of color I [C] see.

[F] Rainbow, [C] rainbow, [G7] rainbow ’round [C] me. 
[F] Rainbow, [C] rainbow, [G7] rainbow ’round [C] me. 

If Your Clothes Have Any Red

It’s to the tune of If You’re Happy and You Know It. It’s fun to come up with your own verses:

[C] If your clothes have any red, any [G7] red,

If your clothes have any red, any [C] red,

If your [F] clothes have any red,

Put your [C] finger on your head!

If your [G7] clothes have any red, any [C] red.

If your clothes have any blue…put your finger on your shoe…

If your clothes have any green…make believe you can’t be seen… (cover your eyes with your hands, and then say, “Peekaboo!”

If your clothes have any black…put your finger on your back…

The Rattlin’ Bog

The harp is the national symbol of Ireland. Unfortunately, I didn’t have access to a harp, but a coworker gave me an autoharp a few years ago. It’s a little cumbersome for storytime usually, but the kids enjoyed seeing it (I gave them a chance to come up and strum it at the end). Anyway, I used it to strum this traditional Irish song, while the kids played along with the shakers. Here’s a YouTube video of a great version by The Wiggles. The word “rattlin” means splendid, or very good.

[C] O-ro the [F] rattlin’ bog, the [C] bog down in the [G7] valley-o
[C] O-ro the [F] rattlin’ bog, the [C] bog down in the [G7] valley- [C] o

[C] And in that bog there was a hole, a rare hole, a [G7] rattlin’ hole
With the [C] hole in the bog,
And the bog down in the [G7] valley- [C] o.

Now in that hole there was a tree, a rare tree, a rattlin’ tree.
With the tree in the hole and the hole in the bog
And the bog down in the valley-o.

Now on that tree there was a branch, a rare branch, a rattlin’ branch
With the branch on the tree and the tree in the hole,
And the bog down in the valley-o.

(Repeat, adding a line each time)
Now on that branch there was a nest, a rare nest, a rattlin’ nest…..

Now in that nest there was an egg , a rare egg, a rattlin’ egg…..

Now in that egg there was a bird, a rare bird, a rattlin’ bird…..

Game: Red Light/Green Light

It’s fun to have an excuse to throw in a quick game, like Simon Says, and our color theme gave us a great opportunity to play Red Light/Green Light. I was originally going to have the kids do different actions, like jumping or running in place, but since we had just given out play scarves after reading Festival of Colors, I had the kids wave the scarves instead. I had printed out pictures of red and green traffic lights, and I told them to wave their scarves when I held up the green light, and to stop when I held up the red light. Sometimes I would trick them by saying red light twice in a row, which always got big laughs.

Stay and Play: Flower Painting

I love this activity! It’s so simple, colorful, and tactile. Basically, all I did was put out paper, and a bunch of different types of flowers from my yard: nasturtiums, oxalis, geraniums, and borage (I tried to stick to edible plants). Then the kids used the petals to “paint.” Although the petals don’t last long, they create a lot of color.

A flower drawn with flowers

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