About the Holiday
It’s not often someone wishes you a rainy day. Today, though, I’m doing just that because you can’t see a rainbow without a little of the wet stuff. This early spring month was chosen for this special day because, as we all know, April showers bring May flowers. Those same April showers lead to beautiful rainbows—even double rainbows sometimes! So, I hope you have a bad (weather) day and good luck finding a rainbow today! By the way—what do May flowers bring? Right! Pilgrims!
By Cathryn Falwell
Grandpa’s making pancakes for his three favorite kids, and his granddaughter and two grandsons are excited to be visiting where they can play outside all day. Through the window the kids see that it’s a rainy day. Does this mean they’ll have to stay inside? Their grandpa knows just what to do! “Let’s go and find some colors for my famous Rainbow Stew!” he says.
Out to the garden they run in their raincoats and hats. “Splish, splash, / puddle dash, / We bounce right out the door. / We’re off to find some red and green, / some yellow, orange, and more. / Grandpa shows us how to move / Between each garden row. / Lifting up the drippy leaves, / we see what colors grow.” They collect green spinach, kale, and zucchini; yellow peppers, purple cabbage and eggplant, red radishes and tomatoes; brown potatoes; and orange carrots. After some muddy fun among the plants, the kids go inside, get dried off, and begin to prepare their colorful stew.
“Peel, slice / chop and dice, / colors fill the pot. / Stir in herbs and water / and then wait till it gets hot.” While the pot simmers on the stove, Grandpa and the kids snuggle on the couch with favorite books, reading together until the stew has simmered to perfection. The family then sits down to a homemade, colorful, delicious lunch of Rainbow Stew.
Cathryn Falwell’s Rainbow Stew is a wonderful book to share with young children on many levels. The bright colors of Grandpa’s house mirror the vividness of the garden vegetables in his stew, which could be made into a matching game for extra fun. The rhyming verses—each begun with an energetic couplet that would be fun for kids to repeat or act out—draw listeners into the story. Introducing colors through familiar and delicious vegetables can get kids excited about gardening, cooking, even going to the grocery store.
Children will identify with the disappointment of the three siblings when they learn it’s too wet to spend the day outside as well as their glee at squishing in the mud. The close bond between the kids and their grandfather as they cook and read together is a strong anchor for this story.
A recipe for Rainbow Stew follows the story. Combined with the craft below, the book and recipe could make for a fun rainy-day get-together!
Ages 4 – 7
Lee & Low Books, 2013 | ISBN 978-1600608476 (Hardcover) | ISBN 978-1643790572 (Paperback, 2019)
National Find a Rainbow Day Activity
Crayon Rainbow Art
With this cool project you can create an art piece that’s as colorful as a rainbow and as unique as you are! Adult help is needed for children.
- Box of 24 crayons
- White foam board or thick poster board, 8 inches by 17 inches
- A small piece of corrugated cardboard, about 5 inches by 5 inches (a piece of the foam board can also be used for this step)
- A small piece of poster board, about 5 inches by 5 inches
- X-acto knife (optional)
- Hot glue gun
- Hair dryer
- Old sheets or towels, newspapers, a large box, or a trifold display board
- Remove the various red, orange, yellow, blue, indigo, and violet hued crayons from the box of crayons
- Strip the paper from the crayons by slicing the paper with the x-acto knife, or removing it by hand
- Line them up in order at the top of the white foam board
- Glue the crayons with their tips facing down to the board with the hot glue gun
- Cut an umbrella or other shape of your choice from the poster board
- Trace the umbrella or other shape onto the corrugated cardboard or a piece of the foam board and cut out
- Glue the poster board shape onto the corrugated cardboard, let dry
- Glue the umbrella or other shape to the foam board, about 4 ½ inches below the crayons
- Set up a space to melt the crayons. The wax will fly, so protect the floor and walls by placing the art piece in a large box or hanging newspapers, old sheets or towels on the walls and placing newspapers on the floor. A trifold display board and newspapers works well.
- Stand the art piece upright with the crayons at the top
- With the hot setting of the hair dryer, blow air at the crayons until they start to melt
- Move the hair dryer gently back and forth across the line of crayons from a distance of about 6 to 12 inches away. The closer you are to the crayons, the more they will splatter
- The crayons will begin to melt and drip downward
- You can experiment with aiming the hair dryer straight on or at an angle to mix colors
- Wax that drips onto the umbrella or other shape can be chipped off after it dries or wiped off to create a “watercolor” effect on the shape
- Once the hair dryer is turned off, the wax cools and dries quickly
- Hang or display your art!