Preschool crafts take parental patience because preschoolers have short attention spans and are still developing motor skills. But by making it a cooperative project, a kaleidoscope preschool craft can provide both quality parent-child time and an entertaining way to for a young child to learn about colors and color combinations. With help, your preschooler can practice her motor skills by cutting tissue paper, spreading glue and applying tape for a hands-on contribution to the colorful surprises she will discover inside her handmade kaleidoscope.
Crafting with preschoolers requires an adult to plan and pre-cut or construct individual parts that would try the patience, attention span and skill of a young child. To make a kaleidoscope, a parent should cut and put together the reflecting mirror in advance. Cut three rectangles out of Plexiglas, an old reflective CD or cardboard the width of the diameter of the tube and one to two inches long. If you use cardboard, cover it with silver Mylar. Tape the three rectangles into a triangular tube with electrical tape. This interior tube should fit snugly inside the outer viewing tube.
Insert the triangular reflector into a Pringles can, yogurt container, cardboard tube or clear film canister. Sprinkle multi-colored glitter, sequins or transparent beads over a piece of plastic wrap and fold it into a pouch that will fit over the viewing end of the kaleidoscope tube. Secure the edges with tape or staples to keep the small objects contained. Alternatively, place the colorful bits on a translucent plastic lid, cover with plastic wrap and fold the sides over to the other side of the lid and tape them in place to secure the compartment and prevent spillage. Secure the pouch over the open end of the tube with a rubber band or place the lid on the Pringles can or yogurt container. If using film canisters, pour the colorful objects into a clear canister and join to a black canister with electrical tape. On the opposite end, an adult should carefully poke a viewing hole.
Consider the age and maturity of your preschool child before selecting materials for a kaleidoscope. The glitter, sequins and beads for the colorful display not only have mess-making potential but present a choking hazard without proper supervision. Do not put the small objects out where little hands may be tempted to grab them and put them in their mouths. Bring them out only at the moment needed and carefully watch that all the pieces make it into the kaleidoscope tube. Put any excess away and out of reach immediately. A child-safe option is to let your preschooler cut or tear colorful tissue paper into various shapes and glue them to a translucent plastic lid that fits over the end of the viewing tube. In this version the reflective triangular mirror is not necessary.
Once the kaleidoscope is constructed, show your preschooler how to hold it up to the light and turn the tube to see the colorful display change form and create new color and shape combinations. Ask your child to name the colors and shapes he sees. Point out that where two colors overlap, a new color is created for practice with the color wheel and color mixing.