Rainbow Fun with Five in a Row's The Clown of God Unit Study


"The Clown of God" by Tomie de Paola is a beautiful story about a juggler named, Giovanni who used his gift of juggling to bring happiness to people, but what a sad/ happy/ "loaded" ending.  The end proves that when we use our talents/gifts to bring happiness to others, we are ultimately pleasing God.

If you have read the book, you will understand what I mean by "loaded", but if you have not... I do not want to spoil the book, so you'll have to check it out for yourself!  Let's just say that I re-worded it for my four year old!  Don't get me wrong, it wasn't anything bad it's just the way a certain part was worded and illustrated, I just felt it was too much for my son.

Rainbow Activities

A lot of the FIAR suggested lessons were a bit over my son's head, so we worked in a rainbow theme because in "The Clown of God," Giovanni could juggle the rainbow.  Plus St. Patty's was in a couple of days, too-- so it was fitting! 

Five in a Row Clown of God Go Along Activities

Social Studies:

Clown of God Activities
  • The story takes place in Italy and T found it easily on the map; that is one country he knows!  Perhaps it is because of the characters in his favorite movies, CARS and CARS2!! 
  • I introduced Tto a couple of Italian words when we rowed Papa Piccolo, and we practiced good morning, thank you, and goodbye again.  I made a little Italian word flip book out of the Italian flag for us to keep and eventually put in some sort of notebook (right now, everything we've done is in a folder for each row-- yea, not sure when I'll do something with it all.  Since I've taken pictures of literally everything, I am wondering if I should make a Shutterfly book for him?!?)
  • Talked about the elderly and how we need to make them feel loved and appreciated; which brought me to talk about T's Great Pappou-- so thankful T has gotten to know and spend time with him. 

Language Arts:

  • I've never done anything with vocabulary lessons-- I just didn't know how to make it *fun* or even if that is possible for a four year old!  But for this row, I got a bit creative!    I pulled together a bunch of items that I thought would describe the vocabulary word; after using the vocabulary word in a sentence, T had to figure out what item matched the word.  Some of the words/ item matches were tricky, but overall I thought it was more engaging then some sort of copywork!
Clown of God Language Arts Lesson

The vocabulary words I focused on were: eggplant, zucchini, troupe, serious, famous, violet, amazement, and ragamuffin.


  • Not FIAR related, but I have been intrigued by all the talk about the Life of Fred math series, and since we completed Math U See Primer in December, I thought why not see what all the fuss is about!  We received Life of Fred: Apples this week and have done three chapters to date.  T seems somewhat engaged in the story line of Fred and I have mixed feelings about the actual problems T does himself-- there are only three problems to solve at the end of the lessons.... is that enough?  But then again, Life of Fred isn't a "drill and kill" curriculum, so we'll keep at it and see where it takes us! 
  • Re-grouping/ multiplication using links
Clown of God math lesson
  • Rainbow Math:
rainbow math

rainbow math

rainbow math


  • We tried to learn the art of juggling!  After skimming over some tips in a book, we tried it ourselves.  I was able to *kinda* juggle three balls for 5 seconds! 
  • Clown of God Art Lesson

  • Rainbow themed crafts:  
Folded Paper Rainbow Art.  We made a puffy cloud using cotton balls glued to a construction paper cloud template.  Using a strip of colored paper for each color of the rainbow, my son folded the paper in a back and forth pattern to create "crinkles."  After we finished, we glued them to the back of the cloud.
    Rainbow Craft

    Rainbow Art using Cars and Paint:
    I added dobs of paint at the bottom of a large sheet of paper and my son drove his cars in an arch motion to create a colorful rainbow.
    rainbow craft

    Language Arts/ Art: My son made a Pot of Gold and finished the sentence... "If I found a pot of gold, I would put it in my piggy bank."

    rainbow craft


  • Made our own rainbows: I wish I had thought to put a piece of white paper down so we could see the colors better, but you can see it... kinda ; )  I filled a mason jar with water and held it at an angle in the sunlight.
rainbow science experiment
  • All About Eyes: Since we use our sense of sight to look at a rainbow, we read "Look at Your Eyes"  and pointed out some parts of our eyes: the pupil and iris.
  • Mixtures: In the book, after Giovanni would juggle he would receive a bowl of soup; we learned that soup is a mixture because although you put different ingredients together they are still separate.  We made our own mixture-- Chicken Noodle Soup.
Clown of God Science

Just for Fun!!
  • Leading up to St. Patrick's Day, Pinterest was on fire with rainbow themed food, so we made our own!  Here is my son's Pot of Gold and Rainbow lunch!  He loved it : )  I used different colored fruits on skewers and made chicken nuggets for the "pot of gold."  I even added some shamrocks (peas on pretzel sticks dipped in peanut butter); he ate two and that is all he would do! 
edible rainbow 
  •  It was ABSOLUTELY gorgeous weather all week, so we enjoyed lots of outdoor time, too!!
That was our week in a nutshell : )  Next we'll be rowing, "Truman's Aunt Farm" from Volume 3.

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