Have you ever marveled at the sight of a rainbow in the sky? When you see the splash of colors, what do they remind you of? Though rare, rainbows are a beautiful sight in nature. People of all ages seem to be fascinated with them. Poets and songwriters find rainbows inspiring. Here are a few activities that will encourage your group of senior adults to share memories of natural sights like the rainbow.
- Display rain gear – ponchos, galoshes, umbrellas, totes, and rubber boots. Show a photo of children playing in a rain shower. Ask: What did you like to do on a rainy day when you were a kid? Did you ever catch raindrops on your tongue, splash in puddles, or make mud cakes? Share some of your favorite childhood memories.
Name some different kinds of rain/rainfall. (Examples: mist, drizzle, sprinkle, shower, downpour, deluge, storm) Ask: Did you ever get caught in a drenching rain while camping or attending an outdoor sporting event? Have you ever caught a big fish during a rain shower? What’s the heaviest rain storm that you can remember?
- Share recollections of the following: Hand-dug wells, rain barrels, cisterns, water buckets with dipper. Ask: Did your family ever draw water from a well with a hand pump? How did you conserve rainwater during dry spells? Did your grandparents collect water in cisterns or rain barrels? What did they use the rainwater for – lawns, gardens, crops?
- Display colorful photos of rainbows (be sure to include a double rainbow). Discuss how rainbows are formed and what they mean to various cultures.
- List the colors of the rainbow using the mnemonic Roy G. Biv. (Colors from outside to inside – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet) Name some color similes, e.g., red as a beet, green as grass, blue as the sky.
- Make tissue paper flowers in rainbow colors. Try the pastel version.
- Listen to rain/rainbow songs: “Come Rain or Come Shine,” “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” “Look to the Rainbow,” “Over the Rainbow,” “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” “April Showers,” “Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows.”
- Read the Biblical account of Noah and the Ark in Genesis, chapters 6-9. Discuss why God sent a rainbow to Noah.
- Enjoy a spring fruit salad using the colors of the rainbow (strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, honeydew, cherries), or make a rainbow parfait with vanilla yogurt and fruit.
- Listen to Judy Garland sing “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows.” Ask: What does it mean to “chase rainbows”? Did you ever find something at the end of the rainbow? Tell us about achieving something that was difficult, like a dream or goal.
- Use a prism to see the colors of the rainbow. Blow soap bubbles on a sunny day.
Watch the 1952 musical comedy Singin’ in the Rain, with Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, and Debbie Reynolds.
- Talk about the Irish legend of a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow (guarded by a leprechaun).
- Read the poem “My Heart Leaps Up” by William Wordsworth. Ask participants how the poet feels about the sight of rainbows as a child and adult.
- Share weather folklore related to rain and rainbows. (Examples: Dew on the grass, rain can’t come to pass. Rainbow at noon, more rain soon.)
RAIN TRIVIA QUIZ
- What kind of instrument measures the amount of rainfall? Rain gauge
- What kind of showers brings May flowers? April showers
- Finish the following nursery rhyme: “Rain, rain, go away…” Come again another day
- How many days did it rain on Noah in the ark? 40 days and 40 nights
- What does a humidity gauge tell us? How much moisture is in the air
- Explain the following idiom: It’s raining cats and dogs. It’s raining very hard.
- Which company uses the Umbrella Girl with the slogan “When it rains, it pours”? Morton Salt
- What’s the name for an alternate date for an event in the case of rain or bad weather? Rain date
- Who forecasts weather conditions like rain, sleet, or snow? Meteorologist
- What’s a cloudburst? Sudden heavy rain
“RAINDROPS AND RAINBOWS” written by Sue Hansen. © 2011 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
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