Taking a Rainbow Walk is a simple, fun way to practice mindfulness with Littles using our sense of sight. Focusing on the world through a single sense is a powerful way to anchor our awareness in the present moment. In this practice, we use our keen sense of observation to slow down, notice and appreciate the outdoors.
A few years ago, I tried a Rainbow Walk with my two girls, ages 5 and 2 at the time. I put the girls in a wagon, gave each of them some crayons and pads of paper and off we went.
We strolled through our neighborhood, and I asked my girls to find the colors of the rainbow, such as a red flower, orange cone, yellow leaf. As they found each color, they drew the object on their piece of paper. (Disclaimer: my 5-year-old was the one who actively participated in the activity. My 2-year-old just loved to scribble and be with us!)
My 5-year-old loved finding the rainbow colors so much that she asked if we could keep going.
We went through four rounds of the rainbow before heading back home. What I realized was how this experience isn’t just for Littles; it helped me slow down and pay attention to the simple beauty in our own neighborhood in a way I didn’t usually do.
- Paper or small notebook
- Colored crayons, pencils or markers
How To Do It
- Take a walk around your neighborhood or even your own yard
- Look for objects in the colors of the rainbow in order. For example, a red flower, an orange cone, a yellow leaf
- Have kids draw what they see
Kids can also take a virtual Rainbow Walk with friends using FaceTime. When they find each color, they share what they see with one another in real time on their screens or snap a photo to share later. They can even keep track of how many objects of each color they find to see who “sees” the most!
- Which one of your five senses did you use most on the Rainbow Walk? Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste or Touch?
- What did you notice that you haven’t noticed before?
The Science Behind the Smiles
Using the senses to notice your surroundings is one way to bring yourself into the present moment and soothe any anxiety you might be experiencing about the past or future.
What Your Nose Knows: Sense of Smell and Your Health (National Institute of Health)