The thaumatrope has been around in my household since I was a child, though, as one of the earliest motion toys, the thaumatrope can be traced back to 1826. This simple toy consists of two images on opposite sides of a card; the images seem to merge when the card is twirled. This is a quick and simple project that can be made with materials you already have at home. It is extremely adaptable, as it allows instant gratification for younger children, while allowing older children to make the project more challenging. If you like, it can be a great way to incorporate math skills and introduce some basic principles behind early animation.
Draw part of an image on one circle, and then draw the remainder on the other circle. Here
are a few ideas that have been a big hit in our house:
• Side 1: a bird; Side 2: a birdcage • Side 1: a fish; Side 2: a fishbowl
• Side 1: grass; Side 2: a tree
• Side 1: a bee; Side 2: a beehive
• Side 1: a football player reaching
up; Side 2: a football