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Lately with our STEAM activities we’ve had a heavy focus on science… and in all of my planning I’ve been wanting us to engineer a kaleidoscope – so we can talk about light. So last week Miss E and I took a trip to Michael’s and as they’d say the rest is history…we had a blast gathering our supplies and here’s a peek into our Preschool STEAM activity.
Keep in mind that STEAM is science, technology, engineering, art and math…I strive to have our Preschool STEAM activities encompass two or more of these concepts. This activity focuses on science, engineering and art.
This simple kaleidoscope for kids is suitable for preschool, kindergarten and elementary kids as well. I kept our kaleidoscope very simple and kept our focus on light and sight!
How to Make a Kaleidoscope
All of your materials can be found at Michaels, making shopping easier!
- Construction Paper
- Elmer’s Glitter Glue – choose your color because there are SO many fun colors!
- Paper Mate Ink Joy Pens
- 1- Clear Snack Bag
- 1- White mailing tube/ cylinder
- Washi tape
- 1- Reflective scrapbook paper
Step by Step on how to make a kaleidoscope:
- Art! Each child decorates a piece of construction paper using Elmer’s glitter glue, Paper Mate Ink Joy pens, washi tape, sequins (don’t use all of your Elmer’s glitter glue and sequins on this step though!!!) Let the kids create and explore through art in designing the “skin” of their kaleidoscope. Let that fully dry – the Elmer’s glitter glue will feel tacky until it’s dry so give it some time.
- Parent or Teacher needs to cut a hole (for viewing) in one end of your cylinder lid.
- Place your cylinder on top of your reflective scrapbook paper. Measure your cylinder to paper because you are cutting your paper to fit inside the cylinder. So after measuring, trim the paper an extra 1/2″ shorter so it will fit inside.
- Make a triangle: before placing your reflective paper inside the cylinder fold it in thirds to create a triangle.
- Now place your triangle inside the cylinder with the reflective side all facing towards each other. Another words the plain white side of your paper will be touching the cylinder.
- Cut your plastic bag open
- Place a good amount of Elmer’s glitter glue and sprinkle a good amount of sequins into the glue.
- Fold your bag back over and place this on one end of your reflective paper triangle.
- Your second cylinder cap/lid cut a larger hole so that light can come through and shine through your Elmer’s glitter glue and sequins.
- Lastly attach the construction paper art work to your cylinder and I used the washi tape to secure this onto the tube.
- Go outside and explore light with your newly made Simple and EASY Kaleidoscope.
The girls loved it and while it’s an easy activity…I will say it is a bit more “all hands on deck” for teachers/moms when it comes to just cutting a bit for them.
The Science Lesson for Preschoolers with a Kaleidoscope
We kept our STEAM activity of creating a DIY Kaleidoscope super easy. So the concept of Science we discussed was reflection of light. Even though we have our reflective paper we didn’t use a prism or mirrors like a lot of kaleidoscopes do.
We discussed that the light coming in bounces off of the bright reflective paper…and reflects back in the direction it came in….this is what creates the pretty sparkling colors and shapes. We discussed what colors they saw, what shapes and they even attempted to count the shapes and sparkles they saw!
Simple and Easy Science Experiment
Since our whole lesson was geared towards simple and easy science.… light and reflections we did a little experiment and found that we got better shimmers and colors by pointing it towards the best and most light we could find.
Some places we experimented were:
- In a dark room (closet or bathroom)
- In normal/well light room inside our home
- Outside in the shade
- Outside pointing up towards more sunlight (warn your children never to look directly at the sun)
We are a husband and wife team, pairing our strengths together to teach our preschooler in the most fun and engaging way we possibly can. The mister is a high school educator at Northlake Christian school in Covington Louisiana and over the Innovation Center, which is all things STEAM. I am a SAHM that blogs pretty much everything we do in our little paradise, from what we eat, to where we travel to how we teach our little one. We hope you are inspired to incorporate STEAM into learning with your children.