Summer Learning: The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister

 Weekly Trip to the Library

With the extra time you have to spend caring for the kids this summer don’t just read books to the kids — do projects and activities that relate to the books you read to them.

The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister has shimmering illustrations of a beautiful fish, who is very vain. His scales sparkle and shine as he swims through the ocean, but he is very lonely. The other fish attempt to befriend him, but he ignores them until one day a small blue fish approaches him. The small blue fish compliments the Rainbow Fish about how beautiful his scales are, and asks for one of them. The Rainbow Fish refuses and swims on. A crab directs him to an octopus, whose advice is very simple, give away his scales to the other fish and he will be happy. After some thought, the Rainbow Fish decides to take the octopus’s advice and finds friendship and happiness and gives the little blue fish one of his scales. The moral of the story is that through sharing and giving we can find happiness and friendship.

eeeActivity One: Make Rainbows
Click here to see reference.

You Will Need:

  • Small, unbreakable mirror
  • Glass of water or clear glass bowl
  • Sunny window

What to Do:

Place the glass of water in direct sunlight and then submerge a small mirror halfway in the water. Half of the mirror should be below the water line and half above the water line. Tilt and rotate the mirror until the child catches the sunlight, which will then be refracted through the water to create the rainbow colors.

aaaActivity Two: Make Tissue Paper Rainbow Fish

You Will Need:

  • Template of the fish (or you can draw your own) check out this link for plenty of fish printables or click here for another template.
  • Tissue Paper (1/2 inch or so bits of various colored tissue paper)
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Big Piece of Blue Construction Paper
  • Glue
  • Scissors

What to Do:

Print a fish template or draw a fish on a piece of blue construction paper and cut it out. Let the kids glue strips of various colored tissue paper onto the body of the fish. Allow them to glue a few strips of 1/2 inch squares of tinfoil on the fish. Cut out the mouth and eye and glue them onto the head of the fish.

bbbActivity Three: Make Paper Plate Rainbow Fish
Idea and photo from

You Will Need:

  • Paper plates
  • Magic markers
  • Aluminum foil
  • Googly Eyes
  • Glue

What to Do:

Cut out a triangle from a paper plate that extends from the edge to the center of the paper plate. Glue the triangle to the back of the paper plate as the fish’s tail. Let the kids decorate their fish with magic markers. Provide them with pieces of tin foil and have them cut the tin foil and glue it onto their fish, creating shimmering scales like the fish in the book. Add a googly eye to the fish and the craft is complete.

cccActivity Four: Watercolor Rainbow Fish

You Will Need:

  • Watercolors
  • Brushes and water in cups
  • Pattern of fish or large piece of white construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Aluminum foil
  • Glue

What to Do:

Either print out a pattern of a fish and allow the kids to paint on it or allow the kids to use watercolors on the whole large paper in any way that they want. After the paper is dry, cut out a fish pattern and glue a small aluminum foil scale on it.

Rainbow Fish Big Book

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