A kaleidoscope is a tube that contains coloured objects such as beads, pieces of paper or small pieces of glass at the end. When looking through the tube and turning it, the objects move to create colourful shapes. It is not necessary to purchase kaleidoscopes from a store because there are a variety of ways children can make their own version of this colourful toy.
Toilet Paper Roll Kaleidoscope
A simple toilet paper roll and waxed paper can make a kaleidoscope. Allow children to decorate an empty toilet paper roll with crayons, construction paper or paint. Cut two squares of waxed paper, approximately four inches in size. Using an old cheese grater, grate pieces of old crayons onto one piece of the waxed paper. Cover with the other piece of waxed paper. Place the waxed paper on a towel and fold the towel over it. Rub an iron over the towel until the crayon has melted. Once cool, place the waxed paper on one end of the toilet paper roll and secure it with a rubber band.
Parents will have to help children with this homemade kaleidoscope because it involves sharp materials. Using two old or blank CDs, cut out three rectangles approximately two centimetres wide. Use sharp scissors to cut the CD. Form a triangular shape with the long ends of the three rectangles as the sides of the triangle. Have the mirrored sides facing inward, and secure with rubber bands. Place the triangle inside of a PVC pipe that is approximately one inch in diameter. Use a saw to cut the tube so that is slightly longer than the triangles. Cut another 3/4-inch piece of PVC pipe. Glue a plastic circle to the end of the 3/4 inch pipe. Fill with beads, sprinkles, confetti or coloured pieces of paper. Glue another plastic circle to the other end. Use hot glue to glue the two pipes together. Add a final plastic circle to the end of the long tube to make a lens.
Film Canister Kaleidoscope
Parents should drill a hole 1/4 inch in diameter in the bottom of a clear 35mm film canister. Fold a piece of mirror board, approximately 1 3/4 inches by 3 inches, to create a triangle and tape together. Place the triangle inside the film canister. In the lid of the canister, place sprinkles or confetti. Cover with a small piece of plastic and put the lid on the canister. Children can hold the kaleidoscope up to the light and look through the small hole to see colourful designs.
Yoghurt Cup Kaleidoscope
Recycle old yoghurt cups by turning them into kaleidoscopes. Cut out the bottoms of three yoghurt cups. Trace the bottom of the cup onto three clear plastic lids and cut out the circles. Place a plastic circle in the bottom of each yoghurt cup and secure with tape or glue. Create a triangle-shape out of three cardboard rectangles each approximately 2 centimetres by 6 centimetres in length and secure with tape. Cover the inside of the triangle with pieces of a Mylar balloon, with the silver side facing inward. Place the triangle in a yoghurt cup and cover the other end with the other yoghurt cup, taping the rims together. Add beads or sprinkles to the third yoghurt cup and place one end of the already created kaleidoscope in that cup, securing it with tape.