How to Flip a Rainbow | Simple Science for Kids

I don’t know about you but I have been dying for a tad bit of color around here. We have had our fair share of snow and winter and enjoyed enough winter experiments. Now, we are ready to move on to some more colorful experiments by experimenting with colors and rainbows. Today’s experiment is super simple but so cool… do you know how to flip a rainbow?

How to Flip a Rainbow Simple Science Experiment for Kids

* This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. Click here for my full disclosure.

Don’t laugh when you see just how easy this science experiment (or demonstration) is. However, your kids will think you are the coolest person on the planet if you show them this trick.

It all started one day when I was across from my kids at the dinner table with my glass of water. The boys were doing their schoolwork and they noticed that the words on my shirt were… wait for it, backwards. They didn’t understand. It was only through the glass of water and not in “real life”. How could this be? In order to share with them the science behind it, I chose to use a rainbow (because why not, they are so pretty) to demonstrate.

How to Flip a Rainbow


White Paper
Markers (We love sharpies)
Tall glass or vase

Other items to test
Measuring Tape or Rulers

Set Up Flipping a Rainbow Experiment

Setting up your experiment to flip a rainbow:

Coloring a Rainbow and Flipping it Experiment for Kids

Set up takes about 2 minutes (depending on just how fast you are with your rainbow drawing). If you are a regular here, you know just how much I like to have the children 100% involved in everything we do. Well, full disclosure… this day was particularly hectic between therapy sessions and meltdowns that I just drew the rainbow for the kids.

We have since done this activity again with other images and with kid drawn rainbows but I just wanted you to know that… No, my 8 or 10 year old did not make such a pretty rainbow.

Flipping a Rainbow Setup

Like I started to say, set up is super simple. Simply color a row of rainbow colors from left to right on your paper. Attach your paper to a wall, a white board, or even hold it up (my arms get too tired). Then fill your vase with water and you are ready to go.

How to Flip a Rainbow… Super Simple Science

Are you ready? Watch closely now…

Flipping a Rainbow Simple Science for kids

Did you see that? Boom… it flipped. The red is on the right and the purple is on the left. SO COOL, right? Did your kids say WOAH… do it again? Good!

It really is that simple. This is a basic demonstration of light refraction (bending of the light) and reflection. Now, to turn this into more of a discovery station or an experiment, you could challenge your children to measure the distance from the paper to the vase and document how changing this distance changes the way the image is flipped. Does this work with all items? Does it only work with water? Does it work if the glass is rectangular and flat?

So many questions to dig into… like what really makes a rainbow? Luckily, we did that this week too! So hop on over and find out a simple way you can make a rainbow at home too.

can You Flip a Rainbow Experiment for Kids

Now comes the best part! I have joined with some of my favorite people to bring you some of the latest Kids Activities. This month we are focusing on …. Throughout the year, we will gather together and share all sorts of ideas from crafts to sensory play. Be sure to subscribe and follow along so you don’t miss any posts from this awesome series.

21 Rainbow Activities for Kids


Rainbow in a Bag – No Mess Art // Powerful Mothering

Rainbow Letters Race to the Top // Stay at Home Educator

Color and Shape Match Up // Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Stack a Stone Rainbow // Adventures of Adam

Rainbow Pasta Threading // Play and Learn Everyday

Rainbow Tinker Tray // Still Playing School

How to Flip a Rainbow | Simple Science for Kids // Lemon Lime Adventures

Rainbow Sun Craft // Fairy Poppins

Rainbow Pencil Control Exercises // Sugar Aunts

Beginning Sound Rainbows // Playdough to Plato

DIY Rainbow Crayon Names // Pre-K Pages

Rainbow Puzzle Skip Counting // Creative Inclusion

Rainbow Bear Color Matching Game // Life Over Cs

Rainbow Marble Painting Process Art // Preschool Inspirations

DIY Paper Plate Loom: Rainbow Yarn Art // Sugar Spice and Glitter

Rainbow Sight Words // The Kindergarten Connection

Rainbow Math with a DIY Abacus // Fun-a-Day

Rainbow Fact Family Board Game // Liz’s Early Learning Spot

Simple Rainbow Sensory Bottle for Kids // Coffee Cups and Crayons

Rainbow Paint Chip Color Match // Modern Preschool

Roll a Rainbow // The STEM Laboratory

(Not Shown) Rainbow Perler Bead Key Ring // Teach Me Mommy

More Adventures in Play


Discover how to get siblings to get along even when all they do is annoy each other with the Sibling “Get Along” Poster Pack!

18 thoughts on “How to Flip a Rainbow | Simple Science for Kids”

  1. Pingback: Simple Rainbow Sensory Bottle for Kids | Coffee Cups and Crayons

  2. Pingback: Rainbow Perler Bead Keyring - Teach Me Mommy

  3. Pingback: Rainbow Bear Color Matching Spinner Game - Life Over Cs

  4. Pingback: Color and Shape Match Up Activity - FSPDT

  5. Pingback: Rainbow Marble Painting Process Art - Preschool Inspirations

  6. Pingback: Rainbow Letters Race to the Top Letter Identification Game

  7. Pingback: Rainbow Fact Families Board Game - Liz's Early Learning Spot

  8. Pingback: Rainbow in a Bag - No Mess Art

  9. Pingback: Rainbow Puzzle Skip Counting Free Teaching Resource » DIY Farmwife

  10. Pingback: Rainbow Math with a DIY Abacus - Fun-A-Day!

  11. Pingback: Totally Awesome and Simple Rainbow Cupcakes - Lemon Lime Adventures

  12. Pingback: The Rainbow Center || Teach Preschool

  13. Pingback: DIY Paper Plate Loom: Rainbow Yarn Art ⋆ Sugar, Spice and Glitter

  14. Pingback: 25+ STEM Water Projects For Kids In Elementary

  15. Pingback: Rainbow Crafts for Kids - Look! We're Learning!

  16. Pingback: 25 Spectacular Back to School STEM Activities for Kids

  17. Pingback: STEM Activities and Science Experiments You Can Do in a Jar

  18. Pingback: Rainbow Pencil Control Exercises - The OT Toolbox

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Scroll to Top