Playful learning (2-5 years)

Elmer and the Rainbow: Paper Plate Rainbow Crafts

Elmer and the Rainbow paper plate rainbow craft

I was inspired by these paper plate rainbows from The Resourceful Mama to put together an Elmer and the Rainbow craft for Rosalie, to fit in with our Spring, Kites and Rainbows playful learning theme this month.

Who doesn’t love the patchwork elephant? Rosalie always picks up an Elmer book in the library if she sees one, and our copy of Elmer and the Rainbow is actually a library copy that was withdrawn, so we got it for the bargainous price of 20p! It is a little tired, but the story and illustrations are still captivating.

The story

Elmer and the Rainbow is the story of a rainbow that appears without colours. Elmer goes on the hunt to find the beginning of the rainbow so that he can give it his colours.

He asks all his animal friends to help him find where the rainbow starts. Some of the animals wonder what will happen to Elmer if he gives his colours away to the rainbow! Will he turn grey like all the other elephants?

I won’t spoil the ending, but as with all Elmer books, there is a lovely message at the end of the story.

Paper plate rainbow craft

This craft does need a little bit of prep work, especially if you’re doing it with younger ones. Rosalie is three, and she can use scissors, but I still cut up the tissue paper into strips to make it easier for her.


Coloured tissue paper – all colours of the rainbow

Paper plate



How to

1. Cut your paper plate in half

2. Cut the tissue paper into strips about 1cm wide

Elmer and the Rainbow paper plate rainbow craft

3. Apply glue to the paper plate – we did ours with pva glue, row by row/colour by colour

Elmer and the Rainbow paper plate rainbow craft

3. Encourage your toddler to cut the tissue paper strips into smaller pieces to stick onto their plate

4. Show your child a picture of a rainbow and talk about the colours as they put together their rainbow

Elmer and the Rainbow paper plate rainbow craft

5. See how proud they look when they complete their rainbow!

Elmer and the Rainbow paper plate rainbow craft

Patchwork rainbow craft

Imagine if the colourless rainbow turned patchwork when Elmer gave it his colours!

Elmer and the Rainbow paper plate rainbow craft

To make the patchwork rainbow I simply cut the tissue paper into squares, and added in a few more Elmer colours – pink, black and white.

I let Rosalie completely freestyle how and where to stick the squares to make a wonderful patchwork design!

Playful learning

These crafts provide lots of opportunities for playful learning:

  • colours
  • scissor practice
  • hand-eye coordination
  • fine motor skills
  • creativity

Rosalie – 38 months

Why not pin this craft to do with your toddler?

Elmer and the Rainbow paper plate rainbow crafts

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