Rainbow CD

St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner, and with all of the rainy weather we've been seeing, we've also been keeping an eye out for rainbows. Who else do we know spends a lot of time looking for rainbows? Leprechauns! While we love seeing rainbows outside, we also thought it'd be fun to make some of our own. All you need is a CD, a flashlight, and a dark room to create colorful rainbows in your home.This is a great project for kids explore different colors of light. When the colors are all mixed together, like with the beam of light from the flashlight, we see white light. But when the light hits the tiny grooves on the surface of the CD, that splits the light into its different colors, creating the rainbow you see on the wall! Ask your kids to compare the rainbows they see on the wall with rainbows they see in the sky. What colors can you see? Where are some other places you can find rainbows? Have fun exploring light and rainbows!

Step-by-step tutorial

  • Step 1

    To get started, cut paper in fun shapes or designs. This will add a cool effect to the rainbow reflections on the wall by blocking out light where they are placed. Tape the paper shapes to the CD.With St. Patrick's Day in mind, we decided to create a shamrock pattern on the CD. An easy way to do this is to use a craft punch to create paper hearts, which then can be arranged in three's, creating mini shamrocks.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 1

  • Done!

    Find a dark room with white walls. (You can also tape a piece of plain white paper about 6 inches from the floor.) Place the CD on the floor a couple inches away from the wall and shine light onto the CD with a flashlight. What do you see? Try changing the distance between the CD and the wall. What happens? Try changing the distance between the flashlight and the CD. What happens now?

    Photo reference of how to complete step 2

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