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.)


  1. What kind of instrument measures the amount of rainfall? Rain gauge
  2. What kind of showers brings May flowers? April showers
  3. Finish the following nursery rhyme: “Rain, rain, go away…” Come again another day
  4. How many days did it rain on Noah in the ark? 40 days and 40 nights
  5. What does a humidity gauge tell us? How much moisture is in the air
  6. Explain the following idiom: It’s raining cats and dogs. It’s raining very hard.
  7. Which company uses the Umbrella Girl with the slogan “When it rains, it pours”? Morton Salt
  8. What’s the name for an alternate date for an event in the case of rain or bad weather? Rain date
  9. Who forecasts weather conditions like rain, sleet, or snow? Meteorologist
  10. 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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