DIY Kaleidoscope STEAM Craft

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Welcome to our DIY Kaleidoscope tutorial! Are you ready to embark on a creative adventure that will captivate your imagination and dazzle your eyes with vibrant colors? In this guide, we’ll show you how to make a kaleidoscope using simple materials like a paper towel roll and gem stones. Get ready to unlock the magic of optics and create your own mesmerizing kaleidoscopic patterns!

Today, we’re diving into the fascinating world of kaleidoscopes, those enchanting optical devices that mesmerize us with their ever-changing patterns and colors. But wait, before you think you need to rush to the store to buy one, we have an exciting DIY project in store for you. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the simple steps of creating your very own kaleidoscope using a paper towel roll and gem stones. It’s a fantastic craft activity that will not only engage your kids but also ignite their curiosity and inspire their imaginations.

DIY Kaleidoscope STEAM Craft

Kaleidoscopes have been captivating both children and adults for centuries, and it’s no wonder why. These magical instruments transform everyday objects into a symphony of color and beauty. With a DIY approach, we aim to encourage children to explore their creativity and understand the principles of optics in a hands-on and enjoyable way. By repurposing a common household item like a paper towel roll and adding the sparkle of gem stones, we’ll embark on a delightful journey of crafting a kaleidoscope that will truly reflect the unique personality of each child.

Through this project, we’ll not only create a beautiful kaleidoscope but also introduce kids to the fascinating world of reflection and symmetry. They will learn how the combination of mirrors and gems can create intricate patterns that seemingly come to life with a simple twist. By engaging in this DIY activity, children will strengthen their fine motor skills, develop an appreciation for art and science, and gain a sense of accomplishment as they witness their kaleidoscope come to life. So, gather your supplies, get ready to explore, and let’s embark on a kaleidoscopic adventure that will ignite your child’s imagination and creative spirit!



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  • Toilet roll
  • Colourful paper
  • Mirrored paper or aluminum foil
  • paper straw
  • Washit tape
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Craft glue or glue gun
  • Gem stones

How to Make a DIY Kaleidoscope STEAM Craft

  1. Paint the toilet paper roll or wrap it in construction paper. Set it aside to dry.
  2. Decorate it with washi tape or stickers.
  3. Cut mirrored sheets into three equal strips. They should fit snuggly inside the cardboard tube so that they don’t fall out. So measuring the width and length of the cardboard tube to make sure the strips will fit.
  4. Line up the strips and tape them together on the back. Then fold them up into a prism and tape that together.
  1. Slide the prism into the toilet paper roll.
  2. Tape a paper straw to the end of the cardboard tube. Make sure about half of the straw is sticking out of the cardboard tube.
  1. Cut out 2 circles from white cardstock about 10 cm in diameter.
  2. Use a pencil to poke a hole in the middle of the circles.
  3. Glue on gem stones or beads all over the circles. You can also decorate the circles with designs and lines using markers. Don’t glue gem stones over the hole in the center. You can make one with gem stones and one with markers to see the difference.
  1. Slide the circle on the end of the straw. Make sure the circle can turn easily around the straw. Look through the kaleidoscope and turn the circle to see the patterns and designs created.

Science Behind Kaleidoscopes

Let’s break down the science behind kaleidoscopes.

Imagine you have a special tube called a kaleidoscope. Inside this tube, there are tiny mirrors that reflect light. When you look through one end of the kaleidoscope, light enters and bounces off the mirrors inside. Now, the really fun part happens when we put colorful objects, like gem stones, inside the tube. When the light hits these colorful objects, it creates beautiful patterns.

The mirrors inside the kaleidoscope work like magic. They reflect the light and make the colorful objects look like they’re dancing and moving around. When we turn the kaleidoscope, the mirrors inside move, and the light bounces off them in different ways. This makes the patterns change, and it’s so exciting to see new shapes and colors every time we twist it!

So, in a nutshell, a kaleidoscope uses mirrors and colorful objects to make pretty patterns when light bounces off them. It’s like having a magical window that shows us a different world full of colors and shapes. Isn’t that amazing?

More Fun Summer Activities

Age Suitability

This activity is good for pre-k, kindergarten aged children 3 years old and up. My kids are 4.5, 4.5 and 8 years old.

Mess Level 

The mess level for this activity is low

Difficulty to Create 


Skills Developed

Gross motor skills, language development, color recognition, hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, imaginative play, creativity.

Toddler and Preschooler Curriculums, Books & TV Show!

Play2Learn Toddler & Preschool Programs for Curious Toddlers

There is no limit to your toddler’s energy and curiosity. That energy and curiosity although a joy can be challenging at times. Their interest in just about everything around them is what makes them great learners. One and two year olds can soak up so much just from their senses!

But as a teacher or parent that thirst for learning can be exhausting. That is why I created this toddler and preschooler program. To help you get the most out of this time with your curious toddler without having to come up with creative ways to play and interact with them.

Play2Learn for Toddlers includes 20 Units for toddlers. Each 2-week toddler unit has 20 super easy to set up and engaging activities for toddlers 18 months to 3 years.

Play2Learn Preschool which includes 20 Units for preschoolers. Each 2-week preschoolers unit has 20 unique and easy to set up and engaging activities for preschoolers 3 years to 5 years. That’s over 800 learning activities for your toddler and preschooler at your fingertips! So many ideas you and your child will never be bored again! 

These toddler and preschool lesson plans and activities will definitely keep you and your toddler and preschooler busy playing and learning!

Click here for more information: Play2Learn

Designed for toddlers 18 months and up.

Book: Exciting Sensory Bins for Curious Kids

Did you know I wrote a book of sensory bins? Click here for more information Exciting Sensory Bin for Curious Kids. Or grab your copy at Amazon

Boring afternoons are made exciting with awesome animal-based bins, like Salty Shark Bay or Yarn Farm. Pretend play bins like Birthday Cake Sensory Play or Bubble Tea Party encourage creativity and imagination. And your kids will have so much fun they won’t even know they’re getting smarter with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) activities like Sink or Float Soup, Magnetic Letter Hunt or Ice Cream Scoop and Count.

Designed for toddlers 18 months and up.

Book: Super STEAM Activity Book for Kids

Learning all about science, technology, engineering, art, and math sets kids up for scholastic success―and it can be so much fun! Watch kids enjoy building STEAM skills as they color friendly fish, help water find its way to tree roots, solve math problems with mazes, and more. 

Find out more and grab your copy here.

Designed for preschoolers 3 years old and up.

Book: Big Book of Riddles for Kids

Riddle me this: What’s an exciting way to practice critical thinking while having a blast? The Big Riddle Book for Kids, of course! From hilarious puns to tough brain teasers, kids can build problem-solving skills with hundreds of riddles that show them how to think outside the box.

  • 350 riddles for kids—Have hours of fun with riddles, puns and jokes, and math and logic puzzles that’ll get their wheels turning!
  • Level up their skills—Riddles get trickier as kids progress through the book, challenging them as they get better at solving puzzles!
  • Double-check their work—Kids can check their answers in the back of the book with a handy answer key.

Help children expand their minds while having fun with this puzzle book for kids!

Designed for kids ages 6 years old and up.

TV Show: Curious Crafting

I’m so excited to share my crafting TV show Curious Crafting which launched in July 2022 on TVOkids and TVOkids YouTube! Season 2 airs in the summer of 2023! We were also nominated in 2023 for Best Live Action Preschool Series by the Youth Media Alliance Awards of Excellence.

Set in the ultimate crafting space, Curious Crafting is a short form pre-school age series about the joy of making crafts. I lead a rotating cast of adorable little preschoolers (including my own) making magic out of common household objects.

In each episode we transform recycled items into magical crafts like a milk carton school bus, paper bag puppet or cotton pad turtle. The crafters learn and laugh their way through each activity while demonstrating what their young imaginations can create. 

Curious Crafting shares the adventure and joy of making art with takeaway lessons for creating crafts at home.

This show designed for toddlers and preschoolers 2.5 years old and up. 


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