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Deseo de Arcoíris (Rainbow Wishes)

This week on our free monthly activities calendar, we share a story of generosity, hope and joy told across the Spanish-speaking world, from Mexico and Guatemala to Puerto Rico and Spain as retold by WBUR's Circle Round Podcast. Then, we give you ideas about ways to use the story as a jumping off point for the kind of colorful, rainbow play that can make a real difference!

This activity is featured in our September Activity Calendar. If you don't have it yet, download your free copy at tinkergarten.com/calendar.

The Guide

Step 1: Enjoy a Story.  Listen to "The Horse of a Different Color" on the Circle Round storytelling podcast. Wonder together about the story. Some ideas for questions: How do you think Greta, Maria, and Valentina are similar? different? What made the horse so special? Why do you think Valentina decided to send the rainbow horse to someone else at the end of the story? What would you have done?

Step 2: Invite Exploration. Wonder, "Do you think we can find anything as beautiful/colorful/special as Valentina's Rainbow Horse out in the yard/park/your favorite outdoor space?" Decide it's worth a try, pack a snack and head outside. You can bring pretend binoculars (or real ones), a magnifying glass or just your senses (your most important tools!).

Step 3: Hunt for Color. Once outside, look for things that your child (and you!) think are beautiful and special to behold. Look for colors that you love. Try to make a rainbow out of the objects you find in your space. If, given the season, you can't find all of the ROYGBIV colors, make a rainbow that fits the season in your biome. Look high, low, far and near. If sight is a challenge, you can use other senses to smell, listen or feel for beauty, too.

Step 4: Create. If you like, create something using the treasures you see or gather. You may simply use a phone or other device with a camera to take photos of what you find beautiful—a lovely way to make memories and leave no trace. You can also use contact paper or double-sided tape on sturdy paper to make a beautiful collage, nature crown or sun catcher. Use cardboard and rubber bands to weave your nature treasures. Rub the colorful treasures you collect on light colored stone, paper or fabric to make art as well.

Step 5: Share and give. Make a difference in someone's day by sharing the images or actual creations with that person. Let them know that you were thinking of them and that you hope these colorful treasures or rainbow creation from nature fills their bucket with happiness. Include a wish, too, for them to have a great day, a happy spring or whatever pops into your child's mind. Wonder with kids who might really enjoy (or even need) a boost. Ask kids, "How do you think this will make them feel?" and then enjoy every bit of giving and finding out.

Why is this activity great for kids?

This story introduces children to timeless and universal lessons about fairness, generosity and kindness. When you build on the magic of the rainbow horse, you can also easily inspire kids to remember and experience, first hand, how colorful and beautiful our natural world really is. Searching for colorful, beautiful objects also gives kids' sensory systems a perfect workout! Then, when we share whatever we discover or create with someone, we spread joy and take part in a genuine act of kindness. That practice of thinking of someone else and caring for them through such acts supports strong empathy development, too (and it just feels so good!).

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