Hands-on Optical Illusion Activities, Inspired by “Walter Wick’s Optical Tricks!”

Who does’t love Optical Illusions?

Walter Wick’s Optical Tricks” is an awesome book, full of crazy optical illusions, and explanations for how they were created. Kids and adults alike find it incredibly interesting. You’ll love how it gets your kids talking and thinking! It’s always been a huge hit in my classroom, and now I’ve compiled a list of hands-on activities you can do with it to extend the learning and fun!

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DIY optical illusions that go with the book “Walter Wick’s Optical Tricks” are lots of fun for kids! Make your own mirror box and do other optical illusion activities to help kids see the world a different way!

Optical Illusion Activity #1: Make a Mirror Box!

A while ago, I was inspired by the Imagination Tree’s mirror box (here) but I  wanted to save a little money, so I made my own using a different technique. Mine’s a little smaller, cheaper, and I think, more sturdy. This is a perfect activity to go with “Walter Wick’s Optical Tricks” because so many of the illusions in the book use mirrors, and having the three-way mirror opens up so many possibilities for exploration and play!

To make the mirror box you need;

-a cardboard box

Adhesive Flexible Mirror Sheets (Amazon Link)

-Hot glue

Trim one of the mirror sheets into a square so all three will fit together evenly.

(Save the scrap for some other amazing craft project!)

How to make a mirror box and other fun optical illusion activities for kids. These are book based activities to go with “Walter Wick’s Optical Tricks”

Line them up in the corner of a box and trace, then trim the cardboard around them.

If necessary, use some hot glue to assemble the box corner again.

How to make a mirror box and other fun optical illusion activities for kids. These are book based activities to go with “Walter Wick’s Optical Tricks”

Peel the adhesive off of your mirror sheet;

How to make a mirror box and other fun optical illusion activities for kids. These are book based activities to go with “Walter Wick’s Optical Tricks”

And line it up carefully with the corner!

How to make a mirror box and other fun optical illusion activities for kids. These are book based activities to go with “Walter Wick’s Optical Tricks”

Repeat with the other two;

How to make a mirror box and other fun optical illusion activities for kids. These are book based activities to go with “Walter Wick’s Optical Tricks” And peel the protective film off! Your mirror box is done!

I guarantee that your kids will love putting different toys on it to see how they look! It creates crazy optical illusions as the toys seem to be floating on copies of themselves and duplicated out into space!

We tried it with our Magformers;

How to make a mirror box and other fun optical illusion activities for kids. These are book based activities to go with “Walter Wick’s Optical Tricks” How to make a mirror box and other fun optical illusion activities for kids. These are book based activities to go with “Walter Wick’s Optical Tricks” How to make a mirror box and other fun optical illusion activities for kids. These are book based activities to go with “Walter Wick’s Optical Tricks”

And with our  Baby Bottle Rainbow Rattles! (Can you guess how many are really there?)

Optical Illusion #2

Another cool optical illusion in the book involves a picture with images pressed into clay, viewed upside down so it looks like they’re popping out. Of course we had to try it! (I used kinetic sand here. Playdough would work even better. Check out our Pumpkin Spice Play-Dough Cupcakes if you need a recipe!) If you squint it kind of looks like the spheres are sticking out, doesn’t it?

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If you enjoyed those ideas, here are some links to other cool optical illusion activities you can try!

Optical Illusion #3-

Draw your own Impossible Triangle!

This was my favorite little doodle for years! Once your kids master it they are going to feel so cool! How to draw an impossible triangle, a fun optical illusion for kids. Read about more cool optical illusion activities for kids!

Optical Illusion #4-

DIY Optical Illusion Spinning Tops

These tops are easy and fun to make, and kids will love seeing what happens when they spin!

DIY spinning tops are an easy and fun optical illusion activity for kids!

Optical Illusion #5-

Emoji Optical Illusion Spinners!

This tutorial from Jane Hayes creative is sure to be a big hit! Kids will love the fact that they’re emojis and they’ll totally be wowed when they twist them and the picture changes!

These emoji optical illusion spinners are a fun DIY Optical Illusion Activity for Kids

Optical Illusion #6-

Make your own Flip Book!

Flip books are the original animation! There are lots of high-tech ways to do stop motion animation these days, but there’s something really satisfying about drawing a stick figure over and over and flipping the pages to see it move.

How to make a flip book, this is a fun optical illusion activity that kids can do with just a pen and s pad of paper.

Optical Illusion #7-

Make an Amograph!

This one looks super easy and seriously awesome. I’d like to figure out how to make my own, but luckily for now, “Easy Peasy And Fun” have a printable template you can download. Kids will LOVE the way the image changes as you turn it from side to side!

How to make an amograph, a fun optical illusion activity for kids.

Finally, if your kids loved these activities, you can send them off with some printable Optical Illusion Lunchbox Notes!

Which optical illusion activity are you most excited to try? Leave a comment and let me know!

If you’re looking for another project that will help kids see the world in a new way, check out my easy DIY light table or 5 Ways Black Lights Make Learning Awesome!

Want more magic in your life? Subscribe to our email list, follow Firefly Magic on Instagram or  Pinterest, like our Facebook Page or join my Facebook Group. an interactive forum where parents and teachers come together to discuss awesome activities for kids! Whichever platform you prefer, I look forward to sharing more exciting ideas with you!

3 thoughts on “Hands-on Optical Illusion Activities, Inspired by “Walter Wick’s Optical Tricks!”

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