Craft Corner

Hildegard of Bingen Kaleidoscopes!

Take advantage of all the time at home with this fun activity! Teach you child all about Hildegard of Bingen and their perception of light! Hildegard of Bingen was a nun in Medieval Germany. She lived from 1098-1179. She was well known for her interest in science and the natural world, music and as a famous author. Hildegard was also a unique artist, who decorated the books she wrote with colorful, mirrored images full of abstract shapes, much like the images in a kaleidoscope.

Make a fun kaleidoscope at home!

● 1 toilet paper tube
● Saran Wrap
● One empty, disposable plastic container(like a take out container)
● Foil or another piece of reflective material(we used the inside of an old chip bag)
● Scissors
● Tape or glue
● Rubber band (optional)
● Markers or a piece of bright paper
● Colorful beads or sequins

1. Take your toilet paper tube, stand it up on the piece of plastic and trace around the circumference of the tube on the plastic.
2. Cut the circle out of the piece of plastic, and set aside
3. Take your reflective material, and cut 3 pieces. The pieces should be about an inch across and should be 3⁄4 as high as your toilet paper tube
4. Tape the 3 pieces of reflective material together so that the make a 3D triangle, with the reflective part facing the inside of triangle
5. Put the triangle into the toilet paper tube. It should stay nestled inside. If it is too small and falls out, make a larger triangle by replacing one side with a piece that is still 3⁄4 as tall as your tube, but more than 1 inch across.
6. Add the plastic circle on top of the reflective triangle, within the toilet paper tube. It should fit snugly.
7. With the plastic tube resting on the reflective triangle there should be an empty space over the piece of plastic. Add beads here so that the space is about 25% filled with beads.
8. Use plastic wrap to cover the side of the tube with the beads. You can use glue, tape or use a rubber band. If desired, you can cover both ends with plastic wrap.
9. Color the tube or wrap the outside of the tube with wrapping paper.
10. Hold tube to the light and slowly spin. What can you see? Does the image change?

Further Study:

Want to learn more about Hildegard of Bingen?
● Check out one of her musical compositions here
● Read Jonah Winter’s book “The Secret World of Hildegard” or listen the audiobook,“Swordsmen, Saints and Scholars: Great Men and Women of the Middle Ages,” about famous people who lived during the Middle Ages, including Hildegard!

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