Friday, February 6, 2009

Physical Friday: Binoculars

Today we continue this week's short series on pretend play.
This project is fun and addresses physical development on two different levels! First, the fine motor skills needed to decorate the binoculars and second the ability to look through the binoculars to the world beyond. These binoculars are perfect for toddlers because the size just perfectly matches the distance between their eyes.

Making Binoculars
Materials Needed:

  • toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls cut down
  • decorative paper
  • decorative details (pom poms, glitter, feathers, foam shapes, buttons, brads, stickers, anything you already have on hand)
  • glue
  • fat paintbrush
  • glue dots


  1. Cut the decorative paper into rectangles measuring about 4.5" by 6" (some rolls were shorter)
  2. Pour glue onto a plate and add a small amount of water; mix together using a fat paintbrush
  3. Paint glue onto backside of decorative paper; affix to roll
  4. Attach two rolls together using glue dots or another type of instant adhesive
  5. Cut strip of decorative paper about 2" by 11" (measure around both rolls to make sure strip is long enough)
  6. Wrap strip around both rolls and secure ends with glue or tape
  7. Decorate binoculars with pom poms, glitter, feathers, foam shapes, buttons, brads, stickers, or anything you already have on hand
Once binoculars are dry (or at least mostly dry) go out and explore the world! Look through your binoculars and describe what you see. Ask your child to do the same. You can pretend you are in the jungle and describe the trees and animals you might see there. Or you can be at the zoo or in the ocean. Let the binoculars transport you to a different place or even a new world!

With very young children (less than 18 months) it's difficult for them to see through the binoculars. They get hung up on looking at the binoculars. Practice by putting your eye at one end and holding it up to their eye and talk about seeing the other eye. Gradually move away from the end and help your child to see your face. Once they "get" it, the binoculars are a new way to look at the world!


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