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Paper Kaleidoscope

Activity Overview

Create a colorful kaleidoscope and experiment with mirrors and how they reflect light and create different color patterns when you build your own kaleidoscope. I always marveled at the wonder a kaleidoscope that I had when I was a child. It was so fun to be able to build some kaleidoscopes with my own children.

The lightshines through the decorated paper and travels into the tube while the foil and plastic lined insides become the mirrors that reflect the light. This causes a multitude of different reflections that result in many different patterns of colored light displays.

Materials Needed

  • 2 Postcard sized pieces of card stock
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Glue Stick
  • Clear plastic ( saved from packaging)
  • Tracing paper

How to Make It

  1. Cut a piece of card stock to the size of a postcard.
  2. Fold the piece of card stock in half and then in half again.
  3. Unfold the card.
  4. Cut a piece of clear plastic the same size of the postcard and lay it on top of the postcard.
  5. Use a ruler and scissors to score lines that match the folds in the card underneath. Set the plastic aside.
  6. Next, cut a piece of foil to the same size as the card stock and the plastic.
  7. Glue the aluminum foil to the card stock. Press flat with your fingers.
  8. Layer the plastic on top of the foil and fold all three into a tube that is triangular in shape. Secure with tape.
  9. Cut out a square of tracing paper and draw colorful designs with and patterns with markers.
  10. Place the tube up to your eye and hold up the designed paper in front of the other end. Direct it toward the light and rotate the paper.

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