For Kids

Science Experiment: Light - Make a Kaleidoscope

07/13/2021 | Science Experiments

Exploring the Science of Light

Many of you have probably played with a kaleidoscope. It is a tube that you hold up to your eye. You point the tube toward light and then slowly turn it. As you turn the tube you can see patterns of colors at the other end of the tube. A kaleidoscope works by reflecting light.

Light travels in a straight line. When light bumps into something it changes direction. If light bumps into something shiny it reflects back in the direction it came from. Think of light like a bouning ball. In a kaleidoscope there are shiny surfaces.

If you make your own kaleidoscope you can use mirrors or aluminum foil. When you point the kaleidscope toward light, the light enters the kaleidoscope and reflects back and forth between the shiny surfaces inside the kaleidoscope. Since you have filled the end of the kaleidoscope with little shiny objects, the light bounces off those too and makes the interesting patterns of color. As you turn the kaleidoscope the little shiny objects move which makes the patterns of color move.

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Digital STEAM Lab: Light, Sight, and Colors

Tinker with the science and physics of light and color. Like sound, light travels from its source in waves, which we see using receptors in our eyes. Different colors of light travel at different frequencies. Light also behaves differently when it hits different objects and surroundings. Philosophers and scientists have had ideas throughout history about light. Learn about light, color, and sight!


Midthun, Joseph

Another great non-fiction graphic novel by our pal Joseph Midthun! This book introduces you to some basic concepts: What is light? What is color? How do you see? Why study light?

A Ray of Light

A Book of Science and Wonder

Wick, Walter

Let's Make A Rainbow!

Seeing the Science of Light Refraction With Optical Physics

Ferrie, Chris