Thaumatropes – a fun mini movie (optical illusion toy)

Thaumatrope with words, Jesus loves me; free printable optical illusion toy for kids

LIGHTS, CAMERA… ACTION! 

Let’s start the new year off with something fun. A thaumatrope… thauma-what?… is a paper toy, a simple optical illusion. Our kids will get to play movie director with their own mini movie in two frames that spin and merge together to make one image and give the illusion of movement. It’s created using one or two pieces of card and twirled as fast as you can. I can’t believe how easy these are and yet so much fun… our kids will love them and will want to have a go at making their own… enjoy!

*

*

FREE Momma Duck and Cute Little Ducklings Mini Thaumatrope optical illusion spinning paper toy for kids; free printable

*

*

*

THAUMA-WHAT?!

A picture is worth 1000 words. Click on this valentine thaumatrope – it’s simply a circle with a cute heart on one side and the words ‘I love you’ on the other – to see one in action; the cute idea that inspired this post – thanks Mollie. Once you’ve seen it, you’ll be hooked.

*

*

*

WHAT IS A THAUMATROPE AND HOW DOES IT WORK?

A thaumatrope is a piece of card with an image on each side (think: lollypop) and when it is twirled quickly between your fingers or the palms of your hands as fast as you can, it appears as one moving image, like a mini movie. It works well for any images implying movement and depending on where you put your spinning axis, can be twirled either horizontally or vertically. The closer your fingers are to the card when twirling, the faster it will spin.

*

*

*

A SNIPPET OF HISTORY

The thaumatrope was a popular Victorian toy invented in the 1820s. Dr John Ayton used one to demonstrate ‘persistence of vision’ to the Royal College of Physicians in London in 1824. It is believed to be the first cinematographic device.

*

*

*

THAUMATROPE (PAPER TOY) ~ CRAFTS FOR KIDS ~ FREE PRINTABLE (A4)

Here’s some cute little freebies designed by Paper Gifts for Estefany – 2 circles per page = one toy; 4 circles per page = 2 toys; in colour, to colour, or blank. Click on the images or the text hyperlinks to download them in full resolution. Print on craft card or photo paper, cut them out and assemble them. You may also like to laminate your thaumatrope to make it a bit more resilient. They are all free printable… enjoy!

*

  • Jesus loves me

Jesus loves me – FREE thaumatrope for kids  (Paper Gifts for Estefany) 2 circles (one toy) per page, in colour or to colour; to remind our kids how much their Creator loves them, and what better way to do it than this fun, spinning toy; free printable

Thaumatrope with words, Jesus loves me; free printable optical illusion toy for kids Thaumatrope with words, Jesus loves me; free printable optical illusion toy for kids

*

*

  • Dinosaur

Dinosaur – FREE mini thaumatrope for kids  (Paper Gifts for Estefany) 4 circles or 2 toys per page; free printable; God made me too!

FREE Dinosaur Mini Thaumatrope for kids FREE Dinosaur Mini Thaumatrope for kids

*

*

  • Universe

Universe – FREE mini thaumatrope for kids  (Paper Gifts for Estefany) 4 per page (2 toys); free printable; Blast off into outer space!

FREE Universe Mini Thaumatrope optical illusion paper toy for kids; free printable  FREE Universe Mini Thaumatrope optical illusion paper toy for kids; free printable

*

*

  • Momma Duck

Momma Duck ~ FREE mini thaumatrope for kids  (Paper Gifts for Estefany) with her cute little ducklings. Momma Duck has some wise advice for her chicks and for us from Deuteronomy 13:4 – Follow the Lord and fear Him; obey Him and keep His commands; worship Him and be faithful to Him. Click here for some Birds ~ FREE colouring pages, puzzles, crafts and creative ideas to go with it.

FREE Momma Duck and Cute Little Ducklings Mini Thaumatrope optical illusion spinning paper toy for kids; free printableFREE Momma Duck and Cute Little Ducklings Mini Thaumatrope optical illusion spinning paper toy for kids; free printable

*

*

  • Cupcake

Cupcake with Sprinkles ~ FREE mini thaumatrope for kids  (Paper Gifts for Estefany)with Bible verse from Psalm 119:103  How sweet are Your words unto my taste, yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth. Click the link for some more freebies to go with it.

FREE paper gifts with pink and white cupcake, sprinkles, a tiny gold star and pink hearts; Bible verse from Psalm 119:103; free printable FREE thaumatrope paper toy for kids featuring pink and white cupcake with sprinkles, a tiny gold star and pink hearts; Bible verse from Psalm 119:103; free printable

*

*

  • Blank

You will find more inspiration and full instructions below. And here are a couple of blank ones if you would like to design your own, or print a blank one so your child can have the fun designing their own:

Thaumatrope with words, Jesus loves me; free printable optical illusion toy to colour for kids    FREE Mini Thaumatrope blank template for kids

*

*

*

*

MAKE YOUR OWN THAUMATROPE ~ HOW TO

  1. Cut 2 or 4 identical shapes (e.g. circles work well, but they don’t have to be circles) onto good quality card; 2 shapes per page for a full size thaumatrope, or 4 shapes per page for a mini thaumatrope.
  2. Draw part of your picture on one circle, and the other half of your picture on the other circle. Make sure your images will line up. When the images are glued back-to-back and spun quickly, the two separate images should appear to merge. And depending on where your spinning axis is, you may need to invert one image, but you’ll figure it out.  :)
  3. There are various ways you can make your thaumatrope twirl:  using thin rope, string, a lackey band (add a tiny hole punch to either side of your card and loop through); or attach a thin stick. Think: bamboo skewer; or for our sponsored kids, a strip of heavy paper or card rolled up to make a wand which is what I have done above, just in case they do not have access to any of the others.

Here is a super easy tutorial for kids.

*

*

*

THAUMATROPE ~ MORE CREATIVE IDEAS

Have a go at making your own! Here are some ideas to kick off your creativity…

  • SHAPES:  Experiment with different shaped cards – circles (or round tags); ovals; hexagons; squares; rectangles; stars; hearts; animals (e.g. fish, butterfly, animals); snowflakes; autumn leaves; a crown shape; a birthday cupcake (hmmm, that sounds like fun! I’ll have to try that one); the possibilities are endless. All it needs to do is to be able to spin evenly.
  • COLOURS:  Try different colours, backgrounds, and patterns (e.g. plain, stripes, dots, whirlygig) – again, the possibilities are endless – just experiment. Keeping it simple probably works best. Some of the best I’ve seen are simple images on plain white backgrounds.
  • WORDS:  Design a special mini message of love to your child using just words on your thaumatrope, e.g. I love you; you are loved; thinking of you; happy birthday; need a hug?; or a short Bible verse. This would be a fabulous Bible verse memorisation technique. Experiment with different fonts or typography.
  • CLIP ART:  Add some clip art, e.g. stars, hearts, animals, or even lines radiating out from your object, anything to show movement.
  • COLOURING PAGES:  Split up parts of a colouring page and put one part of the image on one shape and another part of the image on the other shape, e.g. these circus tricks would work well. You may need to reduce your image sizes first to make sure they fit.
  • SILHOUETTE:  Split up parts of a silhouette image.
  • PHOTOS:  Cut around a photo of your child on one shape and add a top hat to the other (great birthday idea). Or put your child’s photo on one shape and your photo on the other. Make it look like you are doing something together (e.g. kicking or throwing a ball, waving to each other). The photo of you could be the ‘action shot’ if you need one. Take a photo of you blowing kisses to your child; kicking a ball; or reaching out your arms to them for a hug. Include a unique message for your child, written in words around the images; or take a photo of you holding a sign with your message; or add a text box to your image to make it look like a sign.
  • FRAME:  Try adding a border or frame to one shape and what you see on the other shape – e.g. a window; an open book (e.g. showing a short Bible verse); a puppet theatre; a movie set; or put a stage with curtains and show your subject (maybe your child?) making a grand entrance.
  • SPLIT YOUR IMAGE:  Split up parts of your image to make a thaumatrope. Here’s a simple heart in two halves (add your name to one side and your child’s name to the other). Something like this pink merry go round image would be lovely split up as a thaumatrope for our girls.
  • GIFT TAGS:  Thaumatropes can also be used as very cute gift tags. Just add names. The pink merry go round above would make a great gift tag. Here are some heart thaumatrope gift cards  where you can add your name and your child’s name. You may think of ways to add them to other stationery items, too (e.g. adhere with a tiny piece of double-sided tape).
  • THEME:  Tie it in with your theme package – thaumatropes can be adapted for any theme. Doing a Bible theme? Make up a thaumatrope to match your theme. There are some ideas below. Writing about a specific animal? Add a thaumatrope of that animal into your package, either using a shape template as your thaumatrope card, or including a picture of that animal on your thaumatrope. Sending a birthday package? That cupcake-shaped thaumatrope would be a winner; or include a cupcake image on one shape and candles or a number indicating your child’s age or radiating lines on the other.
  • LIKE DOODLING? DRAW YOUR OWN!  Or get your own children or students to make one for your sponsored child. They will love it! Flick through the topic suggestions below for more inspiration.
  • PRINT SOME BLANK THAUMATROPE SHAPES  so that your child and their friends can have fun designing their own. Why not include some ideas and a few samples? I recommend a starting diameter for your shape of somewhere between 8 to 10 cm. I looked at the slimline rim of my favourite pink cupcake mug :) and started with that. It also depends on the quality of your card. Again, experiment. Mini thaumatropes would also be extremely cute and possibly a little easier to handle for the little ones.
  • POP YOUR THAUMATROPE INTO A MINI ENVELOPE for some extra fun and don’t forget to jazz it up!

*

*

*

*

TOPIC IDEAS ~  FOR MORE INSPIRATION

  • Bible: Sparkly gem thaumatrope (terrific for a Bible treasure theme) plus it comes with its own cute mini envelope; Jonah inside the big fish  (scroll down to the crafts section) would make an excellent thaumatrope; Jesus – transfiguration thaumatrope; Biblical Easter / Passover – how about a cross on one side, and the empty tomb on the other (or maybe just radiating lines from either to show it’s empty); Fruit of the Spirit (e.g. an empty basket on one side; filled with fruit on the other); Daniel in the Lions’ Den (e.g. Daniel on one side and the lions on the other); Creation: day – night (e.g. yellow on one side and black on the other – an easy one for younger children); Armour of God – (e.g. armour on on one side, armour off on the other side); Esther – e.g. crown on – crown off; or showing Queen Esther on one shape and King Xerxes with his sceptre on the other.
  • One person: a person looking for something (e.g. a friend, their shoes); a person holding a trophy; hat on – hat off; change of costume (this would work well for a paper doll thaumatrope); peek a boo  this would be a very cute idea for a thaumatrope; or how about a stick figure walking or running; a person standing on the ground in one frame – in the next frame showing them moving straight up and leaving their boots behind; playing a musical instrument – with lines showing sounds radiating out; or how about throwing a hat into the air (cool idea for a graduation); a person holding umbrella.
  • People interacting: looking at each other; waving to each other; shaking hands; hugging; walking, running, dancing; people sitting at a table – one disappears;
  • Zoom in: Two hands high-fiving; an eye blinking (e.g. eye open on one side; eye closed on the other); an eye peeking through a keyhole, then disappearing; sad face – happy face; light bulb – then showing an idea cloud on the other side;
  • Animals:  running, walking, hopping; climbing a tree; cat – whiskers  (this is cute – plus it also comes with an envelope); a mother duck swimming with her chicks; a butterfly and flowers; a butterfly landing on a child’s nose; a fish wearing a disguise – e.g. glasses; a bird landing on a branch (this idea would also work well for a nest);
  • a dog chasing a cat; a fish in a bowl; or how about an action shot like a jumping dolphin or kangaroo?
  • Nature: flowers in a vase; a country scene with something appearing and disappearing – that could be an animal, a sunrise, flowers
  • Seasons: How about a snowman on one side, with a surprised expression on his face as he is receiving a carrot as his nose on the other? Include some radiating lines! Or leaves falling from a tree for Autumn?
  • Toys:  whirlygig (this free printable in fun colours could be adapted to make a thaumatrope by simply punching holes on the outer edges); a jack in a box; a yoyo; and I had to include these beautifully decorated spinners.
  • Sports / action: a person kicking a soccer ball; jumping, riding a bike; a person bouncing a basketball; horse and rider – silhouette; horse and rider acrobatmotorbike and rider (motocross handlebar trick);
  • Mini Movie:  lights, camera… action – set up your own mini movie set;
  • Transport:  how about a boat; a train; a car; flying; parachute; rocket blast off (e.g. a simple rocket image on one side – radiating lines and a fluffy cloud showing a blast off on the other side); put your child in a spaceship, a plane or a helicopter (e.g. face in window); here’s a yellow bird with a crash helmet flying a helicopter
  • Circus: trapeze; juggling; tightrope high wire; a lion jumping through a burning hoop, a tiger jumping through burning hoopdaring circus riders; merry go round;
  • Geography: your country’s flag (or a map) on one side and your child’s country flag (or a map) on the other; American flag;
  • What you see: what you see out a window; what you see on a page in a book; what you see from a swing; what you see swimming under the ocean… etc. You get the idea! By now you should be brimming over with creative ideas. I’ll leave you to get started… and I’d love to hear what you came up with!

*

*

*

PLUS ONE FOR YOU

And here’s a fun one for your own family; or maybe as a cute wedding favour or wedding gift card for that special couple. It could also be adapted to show someone being kissed on the cheek (e.g. grandchild): two people kissing – a great idea for your own family.

*

*

*

*

And when you write to your sponsored child, don’t forget…

Tell them about Jesus!

*

*¨*•.ღ.•*¨*

Collect your FREE BONUS GIFTS when you sign up to follow me. What will they be? Click here to find out. If you like my work, please tell others and ‘like’ this page. Your kind comments make my day! You can also follow Paper Gifts for Estefany on…

Follow me on Pinterest!

*¨*•.ღ.•*¨*

Home

*

*

*

*

*******

© 2016-2021 HTTPS://WWW.PAPERGIFTSFORESTEFANY.WORDPRESS.COM. YOU MAY FREELY USE THIS WORK FOR YOUR OWN PERSONAL USE. TO SHARE THIS WORK WITH OTHERS PLEASE GIVE FULL AND CLEAR CREDIT TO HTTPS://WWW.PAPERGIFTSFORESTEFANY.WORDPRESS.COM WITH APPROPRIATE AND SPECIFIC DIRECTION TO THE ORIGINAL CONTENT. DO NOT USE THIS WORK COMMERCIALLY OR REDISTRIBUTE IT ON ANOTHER WEBSITE. UNAUTHORIZED USE AND/OR DUPLICATION OF THIS MATERIAL WITHOUT EXPRESS AND WRITTEN PERMISSION FROM THIS BLOG’S OWNER IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED.

4 thoughts on “Thaumatropes – a fun mini movie (optical illusion toy)

    • They’re great, aren’t they? I’d never seen these before. Had you? My father just told me that he had some kind of ‘flipping book’ as a child that when they flipped the pages over it was like a mini movie, with each page the next one in a sequence of motion. So many amazing ideas… Thank you for your visit today, recachu – my very first post for 2016! :)

      Like

Thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to leave a kind comment. You've made my day! :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s