A Change of Scene

Science/Art Activity

Children will have fun creating an optical illusion that will provoke thoughtful discussion about the concepts of big and little.



  1. Begin by reminding children that whether or not something looks big or little can depend largely on what is around it. You might give them an example, such as a cat may look little next to a person but large next to a mouse. Encourage children to give you some other examples.

  2. Tell children that they are going to create their own optical illusion by making something look big and then changing what's around it to make it look little.

  3. Distribute copies of the Child cutout (print and copy) and tell children they can draw themselves or someone else on it. Then have them cut it out.

  4. Distribute copies of the School Supplies (print and copy) and some construction paper and have children staple or glue the picture to the construction paper. Repeat this procedure with the City Scene (print and copy).

  5. Now children have two "scenes" in which to place the figures they cut out earlier. Have each child place his or her child cutout in front of, or next to, the School Supplies scene. Ask them how the child looks. Allow them some time to play with the scene. Encourage them to talk about how they might feel if they were this little. Then have children place their cutouts in front of, or next to, the city skyline. Ask them how the child looks now. Encourage children to move their cutouts back and forth between the scenes and note when the cutout looks big and when it looks little.


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