Do you like shiny things? What’s the shiniest thing you can see right now? Would you rather spend a shiny coin, or an older one? One story about shiny things is that they are sometimes stolen by magpies (or other birds) to keep in their nests. But have you ever seen a magpie take something? What would you do if a magpie stole something from you?
At the V&A Museum of Childhood, we met with some children from local primary schools to look at different optical toys and the ways that different textures – such as shiny objects – can make us feel. Out of all the things we showed them, the children picked one of our shiny kaleidoscopes as their favourite! As the V&A Museum of Childhood is being redeveloped, we are thinking about how to put the magic of the kaleidoscope into our new designs. One idea is for our new staircase to be shiny on the inside – so we can have lots of space to make funny faces in when we reopen!
Let’s look at some shiny things!
In the V&A we have a lot of interesting and beautifully decorated shiny mirrors. How do shiny things make you feel when you look at them? Can you go on a treasure hunt to find all the shiny objects in your home? How many different funny faces can you make in all the mirrors in your home?
We have a large jewellery collection at the museum, with different styles of patterns made from shiny metals such as gold, copper and silver, bronze, brass and iron.
What patterns and shapes can you see in the jewellery? Can you try drawing these shapes and patterns?
Have a look around your home for some unexpected shiny objects! You might find some of your toys are shiny, or that some furniture you can see has some shiny parts.
Can you make a reflection on a wall using a shiny object in your home?
Let’s make a kaleidoscope!
A kaleidoscope is an optical toy made up of a tube containing mirrors and shiny beads, whose reflections make different patterns when it is rotated.
- What colours do you want to be inside your kaleidoscope?
- How shiny do you want it to be?
- What will you put in your kaleidoscope? (Colourful or shiny beads, shiny confetti, shiny stickers?)
Let’s get some inspiration from these interesting kaleidoscope patterns in our collection. The artists have used different colours and patterns to make interesting effects.
Let’s make one ourselves. Follow these instructions.
- Get an empty crisp can or a kitchen roll tube.
- Cut some shiny or mirrored sheets into three equal strips. Tape them together and fold them into a triangle with the shiny part on the inside. Then slot them inside your tube. You can keep them in place with adhesive putty.
- If are you are using a crisp tube, punch a hole through the sealed end with a pen or a screw. If you are using a kitchen roll, cover it with paper and poke a hole in it. The hole will let you see in.
- If you are using a crisp can, then you can use the clear lid to glue your shiny objects to the inside using glue or tape. If you are using a kitchen roll, then you can use cling film instead, use sticky tape to stick your shiny gems on and secure it in place with a rubber band.
- Hold your kaleidoscope up to the light, and look through the hole you made to see your cool patterns. Can you try moving the lid around to see your patterns changing shape? The light coming into the kaleidoscope is reflected back and forth between the shiny mirrored surfaces.
- Now you can decorate the outside of your kaleidoscope. Maybe you could use wrapping paper, tin foil or shiny stickers. Have a look at these examples of kaleidoscopes from our collection.
Let’s take it further
Did you know that you can take a picture of the inside your kaleidoscope?
Try holding your adult’s phone or camera up to the hole of your kaleidoscope to take a picture of the shiny patterns you have just created.
If you like the picture you have made, you could print it? And then use it to decorate holiday cards to send messages to your family and friends.
Don’t forget to show us what you have made #LetsMakeWednesdays