Embrace the elements with these creative ideas from Judith Harries…
Learn the song ‘I Can Sing a Rainbow’ together. Talk about the order of the seven colours of the rainbow which are different from the song – ROY G. BIV is a popular acronym.
Try some rainbow crafts. Paint stripes in the colours of the rainbow along the length of a cardboard tube. Lay the tube at the bottom of a piece of paper and slide it round in an arch shape to create a painted rainbow. Go outside and paint a rainbow using squeezy bottles filled with water and food colouring.
On a sunny day, fill a glass almost to the top with water. Place a small hand mirror into the water at an angle. Position the glass so that sunlight shines onto the mirror. If the sun isn’t shining, use a strong torch.
Move the mirror until you see a reflection on the wall or pieces of white paper. Adjust the angle of the mirror to improve the rainbow picture. Alternatively, use the shiny side of a CD: place the CD on the floor in a dark room and shine the torch at it. You should see a rainbow reflected again.
Invite the children to sit in a circle and play ‘Spin a web’. Take turns to roll a ball of sparkly white wool across the ring as you sing ‘Incy Wincy Spider’.
Repeat until you have a giant woolly web and everyone has a loop of wool to hold, then move the web up and down like a parachute. You could also draw webs using white chalks on black sugar paper or outside on the playground.
Head to the water tray or tuff spot, inside or out, with these rainy play ideas. Provide plastic pipes/cylinders, watering cans, sieves, pumps and small plastic spiders so children can re-enact the ‘Incy Wincy Spider’ rhyme.
Create rainy sounds using pipettes, taps, plastic pots with holes punched in, colanders and metal trays. Listen to the water dripping, dropping, pouring, splashing and streaming.
Record the sounds and use them as a backing track for singing more rainy rhymes, such as ‘Rain, Rain, Go Away’.
Teach ‘I Hear Thunder’ as an echo song with the children repeating each line back to you. Sit in a circle and explain that you are going to create a musical storm using body percussion. Start with ‘pitter-patter’ raindrops by tapping two fingers on an open palm.
Make the rain noisier by tapping all fingertips on the floor. Rub hands together as the rain pours down. Stamp feet for thunder and clap hands for lightning. Add musical instruments to the storm. Use maracas and rain-sticks to make rainy sounds, add tambourines and drums for thunder, and triangles for flashes of lightning.
Learn the less well-known second verse of ‘I Hear Thunder’: I see blue skies (x2) / Way up high (x2) / Hurry up the sunshine (x2) / We’ll soon dry (x2).
Jude Harries is an author and teacher of music and drama, with experience of working with children aged nine months to 11 years.