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In this activity, learners investigate the reflective properties of light and mirrors as they make a kaleidoscope. Learners use simple materials to construct the kaleidoscope and then explore various surfaces to examine how mirrors reflect light. This guide includes tips for working with younger or older learners. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on Archive.org. Activity write-up only, images are unavailable.]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 11

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • 1 sheet of thick paper or a clean quart-size milk or juice carton
  • Scissors
  • Mirrored contact paper, which can be bought in a roll at the hardware store; or mylar
  • Masking tape
  • Plastic wrap
  • 2 Rubber bands
  • Little pieces of ribbon or tissue paper in different colors
  • Waxed paper or tracing paper


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Vision
  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Light and Optics
    • Light and Optics
      • Lenses and Mirrors
      • Reflection and Refraction
      • Sunlight and Color
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • TryScience


  • All rights reserved, TryScience/New York Hall of Science, 1999