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Victorian “Wonder Turner” Toy

Your child can create their very own thaumatrope (“wonder turner”) toy - just like kids their age in the 19th century played with!
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One of the earliest forms of animation was the thaumatrope, or “wonder turner” toy. It was invented in the 19th century and, as simple as it was, blazed a new trail for animation as we know it today. It was a small spinning disc that created the optical illusion of two images in one, thanks to a phenomenon called "persistence of vision." Your child can make their very own wonder turner toy using a few simple steps and their own creativity!


Age Group:


- Disc shaped cardstock
- Hole puncher
- Yarn
- Black marker or black China marker
- Colored pencils or crayons


As parents, it's important to make sure that activities are age appropriate and that allergies or medical conditions are communicated as you see fit.

Sometimes, a materials or other additional fee is charged. We do this to bring you the best possible activities. It's the Kid Expert's job to confirm any such fee in advance.

Sample Activities and Instructions

Decide what the wonder turner will be all about! Your child could draw a hamster on a wheel, a fish in a bowl, flowers in a vase, ect. I chose a bird in a cage for this example. Draw the first half on one side of the disc (in this case, the birdcage), and punch holes on both ends of the disc.
Flip over the disc so that the first drawing is upside down on the other side. Then draw the second half of your wonder turner (in this case, the bird).
Cut two pieces of yarn (about 6 1/2 inches long) and tie them on both ends of the disc. Your wonder turner is finished! Wind it up, then let it spin. The optical illusion will make the bird look like it is flying inside the cage (or whichever topic your child decided to draw).