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December 27, 2021

Make a Thaumatrope

This homemade toy ropes in a fun lesson about how our eyes can make us see something that isn’t there when it moves quickly!

How this uses STEM

  • Lots of STEM activities for kids focus on chemistry, but this toy looks at the body and how the eyes work- physiology!

Tierra Tips to Engage your Little Helper

  • Brainstorm a list of drawings that could have two parts, things that your child likes or thinks would combine well. We have some examples listed in the instructions!
  • Have them try drawing the pictures with markers, pens or pencils!
  • In our tutorial, we used a straw as our round item. Can you child think of any other round items that would work?


  • Something round- straw, stick, etc.
  • Cardstock paper
  • Markers
  • Tape
  • Scissors


  1. Cut two small or medium sized circles out of the cardstock.
  2. Decide what sort of animation you want to see- goldfish in a bowl, bird with a fish, dog and a bone, etc.
  3. Draw one piece of the picture on each cardstock circle (for example, a bowl on one circle and a goldfish on the other).
  4. Tape the circles to the round item, with the drawings facing outward.
  5. Roll the thaumatrope back and forth and watch the two drawings combine!
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