Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, Edinburgh

The Camera Obscura itself is a ‘dark room’ at the top of the museum. Using a pole and mirrors and the sunlight, it reflects images from the outside, onto a concave table on the inside. The lady showing me today, said people in the 1600’s were so scared of this they ran out screaming. They had never seen outside without using a window before.

Me in the Light Corridor in the Camera Obscura Museum

This museum is so child friendly. I absolutely loved it. There was so so so much to see and all interactive. But in this blog, I’ll suggest books and activities so if you can’t get to Edinburgh, you can still experience some of these things and bring learning to life!

Food art

London skyline by Carl Warner

A couple of Carl Warner’s pictures are on display in this museum, to look at more of his work check out this website:

Why not make your own pictures with your child? (and eat them afterwards)

Write with light

Writing my name with lights (it was tricky)

This was an interactive display on the first floor. There was also a hall of mirrors and a turning tunnel that made you feel like you were falling!

The light drawings made me think of when I was child and we used to write out names using sparklers. So long as you supervise them, make sure they wear gloves and support them to know how to use sparklers safely, most children can use them to have fun writing in the air. Although, the nights are getting lighter and if you don’t feel comfortable with that, use a torch in the house with the lights off and curtains shut!


Kaleidodraw- an interactive display in the museum

This was a lot of fun, you pick your colours and draw dots, lines or squiggles and then press spin. It made all sorts of patterns.

A kaleidodraw App is available to download for IPads.

Magic Eye

Magic Eye on display in the museum

Without even trying to look for the magic eye, these pictures can help start some good conversations about what they can see. I remember having these books as a child, and when the picture would appear, I’d be so happy with myself! Haha! See below, in the More to Books…section for books ideas for magic eye!

3D picture

3D picture in the Museum
How the 3D picture was made

Looking through the hole, it looked like a room with people standing at the front and different objects and people in the middle of the room or even the back! You can recreate this with your child. Make several frames identically and then stick one character or object on each layer, make sure you vary the position. Experiment and have fun with it!

You can buy 3D cards in most shops now. Sometimes they have things dangling down.

Moving images/Flip book animation

I loved doing this when I was a child. Take a notebook, go to the back of the book and on the bottom corner, draw a little stick person. Turn one page then draw almost the exact same stick person only millimetres different. Keep going, you can make it jump or get smaller and bigger, it’s really up to you. Then, with your finger flip the pages so the paper goes really fast and your image will move.

It is so hard to describe: how to make a flipbook animation with Mr Otter Art studio on YouTube is a great visual to help you.

I would use this to make up a story about the character with your child.

There’s more to books…

For our younger learners:

ABC Animals by Rufus Butler Seder

As you move the pages, the animals move. There are other books with “scanimation” too!For our older learners:

Magic Eye Gallery by Magic Eye inc
Where’s Wally? By Martin Handford

At my hairdressers, when I was little, they had a Where’s Wally? Collection to keep us entertained while having a trim.

Post a picture of your:

  • Food art

  • Kaleidodrawings

  • 3D pictures

I can’t wait to see them.

Love Kat x

Published by moretobooks

Award- winning author of the book: “There’s more to books than reading- how to help your child bring stories to life” With a Masters in Education, I have taught as a School teacher across Northern England and have worked as a Nanny/Governess in London and across the world. I support parents and nannies to bring learning into the home in an exciting and purposeful way. Also a speaker at events such as NannyPalooza and the International Nanny Day 2017 and featured in the Nanny Magazine (USA) and Childcare Magazine (UK)

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