Activity Time: Optical Illusions

Our brains are amazing. They are the computer of our body.  They take in all the information from our world and process it so that we can understand it.  But what if you could trick your brain?

We can use optical illusions to trick our brains into seeing things which may or may not be real.  They do this by using color, light and patterns to create images that can be deceptive or misleading to our brains.

Take a look at this picture.  Are the lines sloping or straight?

Answer: All of the lines are straight. 

The black and white blocks are not aligned and they fool your brain into thinking that the lines are sloping!

This is another one of my favorite optical illusions.  It deals with color change 

Stare at the center of the circle where the colors meet for 15-20 seconds.   Then look at a white piece of paper. Do you see a circle with 3 colors? Were the colors the same as the image below?

You can make your own optical illusion spinner with things you probably have at home already. 

What you will need:

  • Cardboard
  • Paper (White works best, but you can experiment with other colors too!)
  • Glue or double sided tape
  • Markers, crayons, or colored pencils
  • Penny
  • Scissors or a knife (Make sure to ask an adult to help)
  • An item to trace circles; I used a bowl. My bowl made a 6 inch circle. If you make a bigger circle you might need to use a nickel or quarter instead of a penny. 

1.Trace and cut out your circles on the cardboard and paper

2. Draw a design on your paper circle. You can start with one like mine or try your own!

3. Glue the paper circle to the cardboard

4. This step might need adult help.  Cut a line in the center of the disc.  You don’t want it to be too big; just large enough to allow you to put the penny in.  It should be a tight fit. 

5.  Place your penny in the slot and you are ready to give it a spin!

The video below is my spinner in action.

Now its your turn! What does your spinner look like? You can make more spinners and try out different colors and patterns.  

Here is a second design I did.

What are some of your favorite optical illusions?


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