Tried it Tuesday! Kaleidoscopes!

Oh. My. Goodness!
We tried a little art thing last week that I once used with my third grade classes. Since this was completed in the STEM lab we had to call it STEAM!
It's a super easy little project and I am so happy to share it with you!

This one is definitely a Tried it Tuesday idea!

So, here ya go. I call these Kaleidoscopes.

Materials Needed:
white construction paper cut in a square
black sharpies
lots of windows

For third graders I have used 12 inch squares and 11 inch squares. For this lab experience I used 8 inch squares. The bigger the square the longer it takes!

Give every student a square and a black sharpie.
Art or STEAM  project: Step by step directions for these kaleidoscopes are on my blog! You start by folding paper into triangles!
1- Fold the paper in half.
2- Fold it in half again.
3- Fold it corner to corner making a triangle.
4- You should be able to look at the edges in order to decide which point of the triangle is the center of the square.
5- Mark the center with a small pencil dot so the kids will not draw in the wrong corner. (Some of them will anyway!)

Start drawing at the center.
ART or STEAM Project: This is step two of making Kaleidoscopes! Using only one of the triangles made by folding the paper, you draw designs all the way to the edges of the paper. More on my blog!
1- The corner where you see black marks is the center of the paper. Start there with any kind of line you want. The line should go from one side to the other.
2- Continue drawing lines and designs. Space the drawings apart. DON'T draw little bitty crowded things. Making this too busy is a mistake. It will be hard to trace and even harder to color. Simple is better.
3- Keep going all the way to the bottom. After about halfway you can try lines going in a different direction.
4- This is what it looks like when you open the paper. See the center.
Look at the photo below and you can see why it is important to start drawing in the center.
ART OR STEAM: If you are making these kaleidoscopes it's important to start drawing from the center of the square. Read more on my blog!
This student started drawing in the wrong corner of the first triangle and the center of the drawing is now at the corners.
JUST A NOTE: I always have kids just draw with a sharpie. You can have them draw the first triangle with pencil and then trace over the pencil, but that can get a little messy.

Unfold the paper until it is only folded in half one time.
Go to a window and lay the paper on the glass with the side you drew first on the glass. . You should be able to see clearly the lines you drew for that first triangle through the paper. Trace those lines.
Keep refolding the paper until you have traced the first triangle seven times. This will create the drawing for the whole page.

ART OR STEAM: This is step 3 of making Kaleidoscopes! Take your square paper to a window, fold in in half and trace the one triangle that has already been designed. More directions on my blog!

Here's one in process:

ART OR STEAM: Here's a kaleidoscope in the midst of being drawn! More on my blog!

Here's some finished ones:
ART OR STEAM: Here's a kaleidoscope in the midst of being drawn! More on my blog!

ART OR STEAM: Here's a kaleidoscope in the midst of being drawn! More on my blog!

ART OR STEAM: Here's a kaleidoscope in the midst of being drawn! More on my blog!
Look at the photo above. Can you see that some of the lines do not connect? That is because the lines meet at a fold in the paper. Take your sharpie and connect all lines on the whole paper. I usually help kids do this.

So, what does one look like that started in the wrong spot and has a wonky center. Here's one below:
ART OR STEAM: Here's a kaleidoscope in the midst of being drawn! THis one is actually drawn incorrectly, but it will still work!  More on my blog!

What happens if you have someone that just does not trace well. Take a look below:

To help those kids that just can't get it completed I will photocopy one I have drawn so they at least have something to color.

Time to add color!
Choose 4-5 colors that go together well. Start in the center and begin carefully placing colors. This is a huge SYMMETRY task. The way things are colored must be mirrored all over the paper.  I use one of my own with my projector and demonstrate this for kids.

Okay, here's some finished ones:
ART OR STEAM: Finished Kaleidoscopes! Directions for how to make these are on my blog!
You can see that every spot was colored. No white space.Below is one that was not colored thoughtfully:
 This one just has bands of color, but all those little squares and circles should have been colored. It would have been a much different effect if this student had taken more time.

This is a super activity. When I had a regular third grade class we did these at the beginning of the year. When finished I laminated all the pages and then hung them along the top of my window blinds. It made a very personal and quite pretty valance for the windows.

One helpful hint: Try one yourself before you try it with kids!
Have a great week!


  1. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this project! This would be fun for those last few days of the year. Thanks for sharing.


  2. This is awesome! I am not artistic but think even I could do this! It might be a good Mother's Day project? Thanks so much for linking up. Pinning!
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  3. I cannot wait to do this project!!! I am about to start my spring break...I look forward to doing my own Kaleidoscope.

    Thank you for so generously sharing this wonderful idea!

    1. Thanks for visiting my blog Savana! These kaleidoscopes are so much fun! It is a project I have tried so many times! Have fun!


Back to Top