The bright colors and vibrant sunshine in this rainbow mobile will surely bring a smile. Making it is also a lesson in science: remind your child that it takes both rain and sun to create a rainbow. When sunlight passes through raindrops at the right angle, the water acts like a prism and creates a rainbow.
- 2 Popsicle sticks
- pipe cleaners: 1 red, 1 orange, 4 yellow, 1 green, 2 blue
- 2 white construction paper squares, 2″ x 2″
- cotton balls (about 10)
- clear-drying craft glue
- Make the mobile structure. Glue the Popsicle sticks into an X, securing them in the center. Set aside and let dry.
- Now make the rainbow. Gather one pipe cleaner of each color—red, orange, yellow, green, and blue. Each color needs to be an inch shorter than the next, with red the longest and blue the shortest. This way, they’ll bend easily into a rainbow! Use the ruler to measure 1″ from the end of orange, 2″ from the end of yellow, 3″ from the end of green, and 4″ from the end of blue, and cut accordingly.
Then line up the pipe cleaners side by side and bend them into a rainbow arc, with red on top, then orange, yellow, green, and blue. Try to flatten them down and bend them into an arc at the same time. Little ones will giggle while wrestling with the pipe cleaners, as this part of the project really requires cooperation and two sets of hands.
Fold one 2″ x 2″ square of white construction paper in half, then spread glue on the inside. Put one end of the rainbow on the gluey paper. Fold it shut and pinch it closed. Let dry. (It’s important that you let one end dry entirely before you move to the other end, or it will be difficult to bend the rainbow.)
- Make the sunshine. While one end of the rainbow is drying, bend one of the three remaining yellow pipe cleaners into a swirly circle, twisting the end to secure it. The two other pipe cleaners will be the sun’s rays, so bend them into skinny spikes. Pinch and bend them onto the circle.
- Make the cloud. Bend the blue pipe cleaner into a twisty oval, pinching one cotton ball into the center. Secure it with a dot of glue if the cotton ball is small and seems like it will fall out.
- Finish the rainbow. As in step 2, secure the other end of the rainbow with the second 2″ x 2″ piece of construction paper. Let dry.
- Add the rainbow’s clouds. Glue two cotton balls on top of each end of the rainbow, one on the front and one on the back. Let dry.
- Assemble the mobile. Grab the mobile structure (the Popsicle stick X) and cut a 24” piece of yarn. Place the yarn on the table and put the structure on top so that the yarn divides the X. Take both ends of the yarn in your hands, twist them, and make an X over the center of the structure. Pick up the mobile structure so that the two loose strands hang down on either side; they will be used to secure the rainbow to the mobile. Put one end of the yarn between the red and orange pipe cleaners and tie a knot with the other end, making a loop. Adjust the yarn as necessary so the rainbow hangs straight.
Cut an 8” piece of yarn and tie one end to the sunshine and the other to one end of the mobile structure. Secure with glue. Cut a 6” piece of yarn and tie one end onto the pipe cleaner cloud and the other end to the mobile structure, opposite the sunshine. Secure with glue.
- Hang the rainbow mobile! We found it worked best hanging from a shelf, with a book or box holding down one side of the structure, but the possibilities for hanging this kids craft are many.