Visible Light
Light Sound and Waves

Garden Rainbow

At home for 5-11 11-14

What you need

  • A hosepipe
  • A garden
  • A sunny day


  1. Stand with your back to the Sun and turn on the hosepipe
  2. Put your thumb over the end of the hose to get a fine spray of water
  3. Look at the spray against a dark background such as a wall, hedge or grass
  4. Adjust your position and the fineness of the spray until you see a rainbow!

Results and Explanation

White light from the Sun is made up of light of different wavelengths, or colours.
The different wavelengths of light are bent by different amounts as they pass through the water, splitting the white light into all the colours of the rainbow.

These experiments have not been specifically safety tested for home use but we believe them to be safe if the instructions are followed. Adult supervision or direction is recommended as appropriate. All experiments are carried out at your own risk.

2021 IOP Awards

Teachers of Physics Award

Recognising and celebrating outstanding contributions to the field of physics education.

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