Get ready to have some fun with this wonderful science project for all ages! Learn how the kaleidoscope creates stunning patterns using mirrors to reflect light. It’s the perfect activity to encourage your kids to play with science and experience visual
The word kaleidoscope means ‘seeing beautiful shapes’. Images from the outside world pass through a kaleidoscope to your eye, but they change on the way.
Grab some sand, confetti or glitter and get ready to see the magic!
For inspiration, watch the video above to see how it’s done!
What you’ll need:
- 1x Pringles can or similar cylinder with a lid
- shimmery scrapbook paper
- aluminum foil
- 1x hammer
- 1x nail
- clear glue
- tissue paper
- sand (optional)
- wax paper
How to make it:
- Decorate the outside of your cylinder.
2. Roll a piece of aluminum paper or silver card and place it inside the can. Secure it with tape.
3. Use a hammer and nail to punch an eye hole in the other end of the can.
4. Mix clear glue with a bit of water and apply to the inside of the lid. Add in glitter, sequins and bits of scrapbook paper. Release your creative genius and surprise everybody with the amazing patterns you create! You can also stick gems on the inside at the top of your cylinder.
5. Hands off! Let everything dry well! (that is important, don’t get too excited and don’t skip this step!)
6. Place the lid back on and put a layer of wax paper on the outside of the lid.
7. Ready! Peek into the kaleidoscope through the nail hole. As the light comes in, it bounces off the shimmery paper and is reflected back out in the direction it came in.
8. Twist the lid as you point your kaleidoscope towards the sun. The trick: Brighter the light, the cooler it looks!
A common kaleidoscope is made from mirrors placed at angles to each other.
The viewer looks in one end and light enters the other end. This light is reflected again and again by the mirrors. In this case, the aluminium paper reflects the light.
Light bounces off a surface at exactly the same angle at which it hits the surface. As the tube is rotated, the tumbling coloured objects present the viewer with varying colours and patterns.