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Ireland: STEM Rainbow Activity

In Ireland, Leprechauns are known to be mischievous little men in green who can disappear and like to hide gold at the end of a rainbow. But did you know that rainbows can be sneaky too? They even like to hide from us - and they hide in light! Do you think you can help me find one?

This activity introduces the spectrum and the concept of light reflection and refraction. Your child’s brain will be observing and processing these concepts, even if they are not discussed or understood in scientific terms.


White paper, a mirror, a flashlight or some strong sunlight, a small bowl of water


Fill the bowl about ¾ full with water. Put the mirror in the bowl of water, leaning it against the side of the bowl so it’s at an angle. Shine the light on the mirror and hold the paper up to catch the reflection of the light. Play with the distance and angles a bit, and your should be able to find a little rainbow!

Talk About It:

Can you help me find a rainbow? Let’s look! Wow! Look at the light up on the paper! How did it get up there? What does the light look like? Do you see any colors? What colors do you see?

Take It Further:

  • If it’s a nice sunny day, go outside and use a hose to spray a mist of water into the air. Can you find a rainbow?

  • Gather a few art supplies and create rainbow art!

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