I have been LOVING the beautiful weather that has finally come our way. Last week I finally removed the last of my classroom's snowflake decorations and was desperate for something bright and cheery I could use as a replacement. So, I got creative and a little bit crafty. Low and behold-an idea was born! My students made these beautiful rainbow paintings that have been transformed into windsocks. I'm so thrilled because they are brightly colored, make a nice strong statement hanging from our ceiling lights, and best of all, I CAN LEAVE THEM UP UNTIL JUNE! I always try to get the most life out of any project. Rainbows are perfect for St. Patrick's Day because they go so well with leprechauns and pots of gold. But when St. Patrick's day has past; the rainbows will remain bright, cheery, and springy.
Additional photos and information can be found on Rainbow Windsocks Revisited.
I created these windsocks using 12″x18″ construction paper painted with a rainbow design. I stapled the construction paper into a cylinder, glued paper streamers to the bottom, and used fishing line to hang from the ceiling.
Want to make these for your own classroom? Well, look no farther. Here are complete directions:
Make a Template
I wanted my rainbows to be uniform with a nice arch for my students to paint. To acheive this, I used an old beat-up folder as my template (note the lovely fading down the seam). I cut the folder in 1/2, drew half of the rainbow-making 6 areas for painting -think ROYGBV- then cut along each line, starting at the seam, and NOT QUITE REACHING THE EDGES (this will help it all stay connected!) I wanted to have a good path for tracing so I cut a very thin sliver out of each line-this way there was room for my pencil to trace.
Prep for Students
You know as well as I do that young children need to have VERY clear instructions. So I opened the template and traced it onto each sheet of white construction paper. The final step after tracing was to label each piece of the rainbow with an initial (R for red, O for orange, etc). By now my students can read color words but I didn't want to do any more writing than I absolutely had to!
Paint the Rainbows
My kids LOVE to paint and they can be very SLOW painters. We are always super-busy and I hate wasting too much valuable instruction time on projects, so instead of using my usual brushes, we used foam brushes for the rainbow paintings. This was so much faster and the students didn't have to stop and “reload” their paintbrushes nearly as often. Highly recommend!
Assemble the Windsocks
After the rainbow paintings dried, I turned each painting over and glued 6 streamers in “rainbow order” along the bottom of each painting. Then I rolled the painting into a cylinder and stapled them closed along the side.
Hang with Fishing Line
Remember how I said I like things “just so?” Well, I quickly noticed that when I prepared to hand my newly created student masterpieces, gravity was working against me and trying to squish the edges of the windsock together like this. I could tell that it wouldn't be long before these lost their nice round shape completely.
To solve the problem, I still made a big loop with the fishing line that went through 2 holes punched on either side, but I pulled up on the section that ran through the middle of they cylinder and let part of the fishing line wrap around then rest outside of the cylinder and it helped dramatically. (There's no clear way to describe this process-hopefully the pictures help a bit!)
My students loved walking into our classroom and seeing their beautiful rainbows in the sky. Such a great way to build enthusiasm for springtime AND St. Patrick's Day. I hope you enjoy the project as much as we do!