Apr 30, 2020

La MaMa Kids Online: Make your own Thaumatropes

A DIY craft making workshop
Led by Jane Catherine Shaw

a black arrow pointing downward

One of the most popular toys during the Victorian era was a great-grandfather of the modern cartoon. This toy was called a “thaumatrope,” and in this activity you’re going to make (and test) your own thaumatrope to learn about how vision works!

Background Thaumatropes employ the same science used by the artists that draw your favorite cartoons. While watching a movie, we see characters jumping, running and dancing instead of seeing hundreds of still images. Our brain takes the images flashing on the screen and connects them to form a continuous stream of motion. This is known as the illusion of apparent motion.

Supplies Needed for the workshop:
1 pencil
Chop stick if you have one- but don’t worry you can use your pencil!
1 scissors
1 wide mouth tumbler to trace a large circle
1 8.5 x 11 sheet of white paper
1 8.5 x 11 piece of cardboard( it can be a cereal box, a parcel box)
Glue( any: white glue, glue stick, gel glue)
Markers and/or crayons
Yarn, or  string, or twist ties

Mom/Dad assist: two holes need to be punched into the cardboard. You can do it with a hole punch, with the tip of one scissor blade, carefully, or with the tip of a knife —so that the yarn or string or twist ties can be threaded through them. Please stand by during making so that you can do this during the workshop.

The Time Out New York Kids Logo that links press about the La MaMa Kids program on their website

"Timed for after school viewing!"

Special thanks to The Jim Henson Foundation for supporting our online puppetry programming.

Jane Catherine Shaw is a longstanding La MaMa resident artist. She interweaves imaginative characters and stories to make one exciting piece of theatre for young audiences. She is the curator of La MaMa Puppet Slam.

La MaMa Kids


La MaMa Kids Online presents kids performances and hands-on workshops online, timed especially for “after school” viewing! La MaMa will continue to use emerging technologies to create a new venue for artistic expression that questions how art can function and how we as a society can survive challenging periods of history.

Online Happenings


Presented by La MaMa and CultureHub, La MaMa is exploring ways to respond creatively to a situation that is potentially changing how we gather as a community in our theatres. La MaMa is working with CultureHub to provide online streaming of select productions and events on Howlround Theatre Commons.

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