The end of the rainbow

Make your own pot of gold!

Posted on Mar 14 2012 in Kids Projects

rainbowRainbows are something special in nature. After a heavy rainstorm, they pop up — like magic — to paint the sky with a multi-colored arc when the sun breaks through the parting clouds. And then, they disappear.

They are created by the sun shining on droplets of moisture still in air. The light gets “bent” and reflected as it passes through the moisture, and what we see is a spectrum of all the waves of colors — fanned out before us.

Rainbows have a special place in culture. A rainbow is noted in the Bible after the Great Flood as a sign of God’s covenant to humankind. Countless songs, movies and books refer to rainbows, including Kermit the Frog’s “Rainbow Connection” and Judy Garland’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard of Oz.” To SpongeBob SquarePants, a rainbow represents “imagin-nnaaaaation!”

What makes them so special and something people dream and wonder about is that they are not something that can be touched or even located. No GPS can find a rainbow. That’s because where you see a rainbow depends on where you are. If you see a rainbow ending at the farmstead way across the field to the east of your house, for instance, the people living there won’t see the rainbow above them. They’ll see another rainbow just like the one you’re seeing only farther to the east.

Since it’s March and time for St. Patrick’s Day, the Irish legends tell of little folk called leprechauns. Their hiding place for pots of gold is usually said to be at “the end of the rainbow.” Nobody can find the pots of gold because you can never actually get there. When walking toward the end of a rainbow, it will appear to “move” farther away.

Still, with our imaginations and markers, we can make our own pot of gold. And we can hang it on our bedroom door, or any door knob, to spread a little colorful magic of our own.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Paper plate
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Quarter
  • 1 sheet of yellow construction paper
  • Gold glitter glue
  • Colored pencils, crayons or markers
  • Glue stick or tape
  • Shamrock pattern (click here to download a PDF with the pattern)
  • 1 sheet of green construction paper

What to do:

  1. Cut the paper plate in half.
  2. With a pencil, trace around a quarter 10 times on the yellow construction paper.
  3. Squeeze a drop of gold glitter glue onto each circle and spread out with the tip of the tube of glitter glue. Let dry completely.
  4. Cut out the yellow circles and set aside.
  5. Color the back of one of the paper plate halves black. Then cut a triangle-shaped notch into each side of the plate (as pictured).
  6. On the back of the other plate half, color stripes, about a quarter-inch wide, all around the curved edge to make it look like a rainbow. Start with red on the edge, then orange, yellow, green, blue, and finally purple.
  7. After coloring the purple stripe, cut off the uncolored portion of the plate. Attach the rainbow to the pot with glue or tape.
  8. Use a glue stick to attach the yellow circles to the edge of the black half of the paper plate to look like a pile of gold.
  9. Cut out the shamrock pattern at right. Trace around it on the green construction paper and cut out. Glue the green shamrock to the black part of the paper plate.
  10. Hang your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow over a door knob!

Click here to watch an instruction YouTube video.

Click here to download instructions in a PDF format.