I was reminded recently the Thaumatrope scene in Sleepy Hollow . A thaumatrope is an optical illusion with an uncomplete image completed by the simple rotation of two pictures (look at the video at the end of thepost for an example). I love vintage toys and the victorian ones have some irresistible steampunk appeal, don't they? I had to give it a try.
I made some like the ones in the movie but I find them a bit frustrating to operate with a string, and definitely too complicated for a five years old to make and enjoy. So looking around I found a version with a stick : it looks definitely more complicated with 4 pictures and I will have to try someday. Until then, I grabbed a few straws and here we are, fun and simple for the whole family. I choose straws because I am not too fond of toys with sticks. These will break before being dangerous, hopefully.
Thaumatrope is an unperfect optical effect and works only a second or two until it's gone. It adds a level of magic and ephemeral that I really like. It's a bit like peaking in another world or another epoch. Lovely.
So grab a handful of straws, a stapler, glue and scissors, and enjoy!
(no redistribution, personal/school use only)