Activities & Days Out / 2 June, 2020 / Nanny Anita

How to make a Kaleidoscope

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When I was little I had the world’s greatest Kaleidoscope, well it was too me, it was magical and created the most amazing patterns that no Kaleidoscope has ever lived up to since. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I am not 5 any more and more to do with the fact I really did have the best one out there. Anyway, Kaleidoscopes have always been a fascinating toy for all children and a few weeks ago EC randomly came up to me and asked if we could make our own ones. They aren’t tricky to make, but figuring out how to make the end with the beads in has taken some thinking and fiddling around with different materials.

EC and I made our ones while YC was at party, not that she wouldn’t have liked making them (she was rather miffed when she found out we had made one without her, although slightly less annoyed when she found out we had made one for her), but they are rather fiddly to make. Plus this was the perfect opportunity to let EC start using some of the more grown up tools that I have.

EC using the glue gun for the first time by himself.

EC using the glue gun for the first time by himself.

He was slightly nervous to begin with but after using my glue gun and craft knife he told me he felt really proud of himself for doing it.

You will need:


  • Kitchen roll
  • Reflective paper or tin foil
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Sharp knife
  • Plastic
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Beads/sequins/confetti
  • Pencil
  • Coloured paper
  • Tape
  • Glue gun

On the back of your reflective paper (mine came from Hobby Craft) draw a rectangle that is 11.5cms by 21cms. Divide your shorter side into 4 sections; 3 should roughly be 3.8cms and the final one is just a little tab to help close what will be a triangle. Score down the lines that you have made and fold it into a triangle; the reflective side should be on the inside, use tape to stick your tab down.


If you don’t have reflective tape then use some card and cover with tin foil.

Place your triangle inside your kitchen roll and secure with glue, you should be left with a gap at the top between the end of the triangle and end of the kitchen roll.


On a piece of plastic (like some plastic packaging) draw around the end of your roll twice to make 2 circles.


Place one of the circles inside the roll so that it sits on the triangle, you may have to trim down some of the sides. Then glue into place. I highly recommend using a glue gun for this as the glue won’t run and it dries quickly; obviously using PVA glue would work but you need to wait for it to completely dry before moving on.


Fill your plastic circle with sequins, beads etc. You want it to be full, but not too full that the pieces wont move around.


Place the other plastic disk gentle on top of the beads, make sure that they can still move around and then glue it into place.


Cut a square of greaseproof paper and cover the end that you have just put the plastic disks in.


On another piece of paper draw another circle and cut it out. Once you have done that make a small hole in the middle to make the eye piece. Attach this circle to the other end of the kitchen roll.

Finally decorate the outside of your kaleidoscope.


Not only is this a fun activity to do but is also really great at teaching children about measurements and having to be precise in what they are doing. If they don’t make the right measurements then the triangle wont fit inside the roll properly. Then if they cut the circles too small they wont stay in place nor will they hold the beads in place. It really was a wonderful activity for EC to start learning how important being precise can be when working on certain projects.

Pin for later:

Learn how to make a kaleidoscope with children.

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