Nature Kaleidoscope

By Helen Walsh

In this post, Artist and Creative Practitioner Helen Walsh shows how to make a colourful kaleidoscope using natural and found materials.

looking through the prism

Notes for Teachers

  • What is the aim of this exercise?

    To create a kaleidoscope that can be used (and re-used) with a range of natural objects.

  • What materials will I need?


    • A4 mirror card
    • Other A4 card (coloured or white is fine)
    • Clear screw top pot (mine were 50 ml bead storage pots from amazon but a smaller size would also work. These are to create a movable compartment to the kaleidoscope
    • Small natural treasures (flowers, small shells, small feathers etc.)
    • Pencil
    • Scissors
    • Ruler
    • Glue stick
    • Double sided tape (not essential but useful)
  • What age range is it suitable for?

    8 years plus (depending on level of support available)

  • How long does the activity take?

    Depending on how many 'extensions' are added, age of students and support available 2-3 hours.

  • What can we do after this activity or how can we extend our learning?

    This project offers itself well to being re-visited in different seasons.  As the kaleidoscope is reusable, the pot can be filled with different treasures found each season.

    There is also the opportunity to look more closely at the objects selected (for example different flower/petal types) through drawing and/or as part of a science project. There are also lots of opportunities to extend learning by incorporating maths (e.g. measurements from circles.)

  • What artists might we look at?

    Bridget Riley
    Anni Albers
    William Morris
    Damien Hirst
    Yayoi Kasuma

    These artists are all heavily influenced by nature and pattern.

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