We’re seeing stars in our house right now. One of our cars is a Ford Edge with a huge moon roof over the back seat. The Bug is infatuated with star gazing whenever we are driving at night (and away from the hazy city lights).

After watching this Adventures in Learning video created by Baltimore Mom/CP contributor/Classic Play guru Jen Cooper (who is altogether fabulous) and her husband Dave (who’s pretty fabulous, too), the Bug is all about stars! …and going to visit Grandma so she can see them better.

You, too, can translate your pint-sized Galileo’s energy to daytime star gazing with this fun homemade kaleidoscope activity. Materials are simple. You need a little cardstock, a paper towel roll, mirror paper/tin foil, wax paper, sequins/beads, and plastic wrap. You probably have that lying around the house.

This is a five star activity in my book since it’s a learning craft that doubles as a keep-em-busy tactic — err, strategy. Fun. Surprisingly Easy.

So where does the science come in? Obviously a kaleidoscope doesn’t teach about the constellations even if you use star-shaped sequins. The answer is light. As you create your kaleidoscope, you can talk about the reflective properties of light. Stars actually make their own light, but the moon reflect light from the sun. Show off those mad (parent) wisdom skills!

My preschool project manager required lots of glitter so she insists that glitter cardstock is a required material. If your kiddo is not quite that fancy shmancy, any cardstock paper will do!

Homemade Kaleidoscope - (cool) progeny

Materials

  • Paper Towel Roll
  • Card Stock
  • 1″ Hole Punch (helpful, not necessary. I can’t cut a circle.)
  • 2″ Hole Punch (helpful, not necessary. See note above).
  • Wax Paper
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Glue
  • 2 Rubber Bands
  • Scissors
  • Mirror Paper or Tin Foil
  • Tape

How to Make the Kaleidoscope

1. Draw an 8-by-4-inch (20-by-10-centimeter) square on your tin foil/mirror paper. Cut it out. Glue it to a piece of cardboard and cut the cardboard to size around the tin foil/mirror paper.

2. Fold your mirror cardstock into thirds to create a triangle that fits inside your paper towel roll. Secure with tape.

3. Slide the triangle into the tube.

4. Punch a 2″ circle. Use your 1″ punch to cut a circle inside the circle.

5. Glue your newly created donut shape to one side of your paper towel roll.

6. Cover the other end of the tube with plastic wrap. Secure with a rubber band. Use your fingers to make a little indentation in the plastic so it isn’t super taut. Don’t rip it though!

7. Sprinkle your small beads/sequins (we used star and moon sequins) into the indentation.

8. Cover the sequins end of the paper towel roll with wax paper. Secure with rubber band.

9. Cover your entire paper towel roll with cardstock or decorative paper. You could paint it, too. We then decorated with 1″ holes punched out of glitter cardstock.

10. Go star gazing in the middle of the day!

Homemade Kaleidoscope - (cool) progeny