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How to Make a Kaleidoscope for Preschool

By Mary Love
Making a simple kaleidoscope will fascinate a preschooler.

Kaleidoscopes provide children with a fascinating way to view a colorful world. The images can seem magical. A kaleidoscope is a tube that has one end that is used for viewing and the other end holds the objects that are viewed. Inside the tube are mirrors that reflect the objects, creating a colorful array of designs. Preschoolers will enjoy being able to craft their own simple version from materials found in the home.

Paint and decorate the outside of the cardboard tube with tempera paint. Let it dry.

Trim a piece of metallic silver wrapping paper that is same length as the cardboard tube and and 1 inch wider than the tube is in diamerter. Roll the paper so that it is smaller in diameter than the cardboard tube and make certain the shiny metallic side is facing inside. Slide it into the cardboard tube and let the paper expand to fit the tube.

Cut a 6-inch square of black construction paper. Punch a hole in the center with the paper punch. Center it on the end of the cardboard tube, and secure it with a rubber band. This is the viewing end of the kaleidoscope.

Cut two 2-inch squares of wax paper. Between the two pieces of paper, sandwich colored sprinkles and red cinnamon heart candies in the center of the squares.

Center the wax paper squares over the end of the tube that is opposite the viewing end. Secure the squares to the tube with a rubber band. The candies should be able to move as the tube is rotated.

Tip

Have the kids hold their kaleidoscope up to a bright light and rotate it to see their colors and designs. Glitter, pony beads or crayon shavings also can be used in the object end. Clear acetate from the office supply store can be substituted for the wax paper for better viewing.

Warning

Do not use any objects for the viewing end that could pose a choking hazard to the child. An adult will need to cut the paper for the children.

About the Author

In 1982, Mary Love's first book, "Shakespeare Garden," was published. She also authored professional brochures. Love was the subject of a PBS special profiling Northwestern Pennsylvania artists, highlighting her botanicals and birds. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in art education from Edinboro University in Edinboro, Pennsylvania.