“Jesus is Risen” Spinning Toy Activity

Jesus Is Risen Easer spinning toy craft activity

Making a spinning toy is a fun way to review the miracle of Jesus’ Resurrection. This spinning toy is called a thaumatrope. Thaumotropes were very popular during the Victorian era. The cardboard disk is spun by twirling strings attached to both sides. During the spin, the images of Jesus and a tomb blend together. So cool as Jesus miraculously appears to rise from the tomb. Thaumatropes are recognized as precursors to cinematography and animation.

The activity requires minimal supplies and is engaging for any age. If you are looking for an alternative activity for a VBS Imagination Station (day 4 usually focuses on Jesus’ Resurrection), this is the one to use! To extend the activity to a full hour, print more thaumotrope templates that can be found on-line.

So, does the spinning toy really work?

Yes, yes, and yes. I’ve made thaumotropes at science summer camps for many years. Kids will need to practice their spin technique but after a few tries they usually get the hang of it. They have fun not only watching theirs spin but also those of their friends. So reserve at 30 to 40 min for this activity. And the kids get a kick out of watching it spin in a mirror, too.

Quick short video to see it in action.

Supplies:

  1. “Jesus is Risen” thaumotrope template printed on cardstock (template gives you the option to print in color or in B & W)
  2. scissors
  3. paper hole punch
  4. glue
  5. colored pencils
  6. string, 2 ft. per student
Supplies for Jesus is risen thaumotrope spinning toy craft
Supplies needed for making the Easter craft: He is risen

Template:

Template for r Jesus is risen thaumotrope spinning toy craft
Page 1 of template is in color

B&W template for Jesus is risen thaumotrope spinning toy craft
Page 2 of template is for B & W printing

Directions:

Step 1 color template  for Jesus is risen thaumotrope spinning toy craft
Step 1: If you are using the B & W version, color the pictures in the circles.
Step 2 glue pieces togetther for  Jesus is risen thaumotrope spinning toy craft
Step 2: Cut out the 2 circular pieces from the thaumotrope template and carefully glue them together so that they are upside down to each other. Match the small triangles with each other.
Step 3 punch holes and attach string for  Jesus is risen thaumotrope spinning toy craft
Step 3; Punch 2 sets of 2 holes on the side edges where indicated on the sides of the cave. Attach 2 pieces of string through each set of holes to make a loop. Then tie the end together into a knot.
Step 4: Try it out by putting your hands at the ends of both loops. Spin in the same directions until tight. Then pull. Do you see Jesus in above the tomb?

Explanation:

The thaumatrope relies on persistence of vision to create an illusion by blending two images drawn into one.  The brain has trouble keeping up with the speed of the rotating card, so it blends the two images.  The eye retains an image for roughly 1/20 of a second after the object is gone.

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