DIY Binoculars: Exploring the World Through Creative Lenses

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Today’s experiment is so simple that you might think it’s not beneficial for your child. This experiment has a lot of applications that make it beneficial AND fun!

Making simple binoculars for your child activates the explorer in them by allowing them to narrow their focus onto very specific items out in nature when there are so many things to distract them. You can do a nature scavenger hunt, use it for focusing in the house, or even in the car. Not just that, but allowing them to decorate and be creative gives them a sense of ownership and pride over their homemade binoculars.

Let’s put on our creative hats and get to it!

How to make the DIY Binoculars engineering experiment

Supplies you will need

For this experiment, you will need the following:

If you want to supplement with a fun book, this is a book to get your kids outside, using their binoculars in natureOpens in a new tab.!

Supplies needed for the DIY Binoculars experiment

Before you start

Please be mindful of the hot glue gun and scissors when making your binoculars.

Instructions

Here is how to do this experiment with your child:

Step 1 (optional): Line each toilet paper roll with construction paper

I wanted our binoculars to not just look like toilet paper rolls, so I lined each toilet paper roll with some black construction paper to make them look like the real thing. Totally optional, but disguises the toilet paper roll.

Cut the construction paper to be as wide as the toilet paper is long, then use your glue stick to glue the paper to the roll.

Black construction paper cut to fit the length of each toilet paper roll
Gluing the construction paper and rolling each toilet paper roll

Step 2: Make a small hole in each roll for yarn or string

Next, we are going to create a small hole on the outside and top of each toilet paper roll to hold our yarn or string. The string is going to be for your child to wear the binoculars around their neck, should they choose to do so.

Using your scissors, make a small hole in each toilet paper roll. Thread the yarn or string through and tie a knot.

Using scissors to cut a small hole in each toilet paper roll, near the top
Finished holes in each toilet paper roll
Threading string through the hole and tying a knot
Completed step 2

Step 3: Glue two toilet paper rolls together

Using your hot glue gun, glue the two toilet paper rolls together, side by side.

You could also use tape in place of a hot glue gun, but the glue gun will be a stronger hold in case these binoculars get some heavy use.

Running a line of hot glue down the side of one toilet roll on the opposite end from the string
Completed binoculars, without decoration

Step 4: Decorate

This step is optional, but definitely makes it more fun!

Adding decorations to the binoculars
Completed binoculars with decoration

Step 5: Explore!

Encourage your child to take their binoculars out into nature and have a look around. While these binoculars do not have any type of magnifying power, they are great at having your child focus on individual objects out in nature.

Here’s a fun book to use alongside the experiment to give your child a seek-and-find adventure!

The engineering behind the DIY Binoculars experiment

This experiment teaches:

  • Observation skills
  • Fine motor skills
  • Creativity

How it works

Making an easy pair of binoculars without lenses is a great lesson in focused observation. These binoculars narrow a child’s field of view, so even without lenses, they are concentrating on specific objects.

Taking these homemade binoculars outside into nature allows your child to focus on specific objects in nature and give their attention to that one object.

Despite the absence of magnification, this hands-on activity provides a playful and imaginative way for kids to explore their surroundings.

Observation skills

Using these homemade binoculars encourages observation of the environment, potentially leading to an interest in nature or other subjects.

We can have kids use their binoculars to go on a nature scavenger hunt or even use them in the car to find objects along the road!

Fine motor skills

Cutting, gluing, and decorating the binoculars involve fine motor skills development, which is crucial for tasks like writing and drawing.

Creativity

Sure, these binoculars drive the lesson home on their own, but it’s more fun to unleash creativity and decorate your binoculars!

Having your child decorate the binoculars to match their style opens doors to creativity for them.

More experiments about the senses to try out with your child

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