articles and blog

When the "snowpocalypse" arrived a few weeks ago, we were buried alive inside while the winds whipped and the white stuff poured down around us. It was too cold to go outside, much to my wondering children's dismay, so I needed to come up with something quick to keep the littles entertained. We had some recyclables that I had been saving to make a craft, and with snowpocalypse upon us today was finally the day!

From a paper towel holder, a plastic container, and a few beads we built our very own kaleidoscope!

Do not be intimidated by this project, it's so easy! The only thing you have to do in advance is save up your trash and buy a sheet of peel and stick mirror (it's cheap!). Some tutorials advise using foil, but I can assure you it won't work, it's just not reflective enough. If you use a real mirror then this project is sure not to disappoint!

  1. Gather a paper towel tube, your mirrored sheet, a plastic container, scissors, translucent beads, tape, and decorating paper.
  2. Cut the tube down to the length of the mirrored sheet, then trace a circle on the plastic container and cut it out. Make two plastic circles (remember it's better to cut them too large than too small)!
  3. Score the mirrored sheet on both sides with the scissors, creating three 1.5” panels. Cut off any excess and then fold and tape the mirror into a triangle.
  4. Insert the mirrored triangle into the paper towel tube.
  5. Place the first plastic circle on top and add a layer of beads. Then, place the second circle on top and tape it in place. The pressure will hold the beads in place.
  6. Cut a circle of cardboard the diameter of the tube opening out of your scraps, and then a smaller circle inside of it. This will be your eyepiece. Tape it to the non-beaded end of the tube and then decorate if you would like!

After you finish, point the kaleidoscope at a window or light source and marvel at the beautiful colors! Twist it and watch the beads fall and new patterns emerge!

I had fun explaining to Aurora and Gray the science behind it, that the mirrors were reflecting and distorting the image as it passed through the tube and into their eyes. They thought it was pretty cool being a pirate and constantly finding treasure. "O’re there!"

Our little craft is holding up surprisingly well considering it's made out of cardboard and tape! It kept them entertained as we waited out the storm, and that's really all a parent can ask for!

Enjoy your new toy, and maybe even the fluffy white stuff too… Happy playing!


from Life Lesson Plans and The Gossamer Girl

Brigette was born and raised in Nebraska, but ever since her husband joined the Air Force, she has traveled around the world with him and their two young kids. First living in Hawaii, and then in Germany, their family has soaked up all sorts of cultural experiences that she loves to weave in to her writing. She and the kids are now back home and are rediscovering their roots. Recently, Brigette started writing a personal blog called The Gossamer Girl where she shares lifestyle stories about h ...

Learn more about this author

Categories: parent-stories, lifestyle,