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.
Trace two circles onto thick paper using a drinking glass.
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
Cut out the circles.
Lay the circles back to back, and then open them up to tape the stick in between. Roll up a couple pieces of tape to stick the circles together.
Place the stick between both hands and rub back and forth to spin the thaumatrope.