Everything Else, Homeschooling

Toddler School – Experimenting With Refraction

Refraction Fun
Triangular Image Produced And Captured on Camera by Little M 12.02.18


Today we had some fun inspired by an activity we found in a magazine last night. M and A have loved playing with our small camping torches since we got them in the summer. This seemed like the perfect opportunity for them to do something a little more purposeful with them rather than randomly lighting up point on the ceiling (though making shadow puppets has provided hours of entertainment).

We started with just a peice of white paper, a jam jar and a torch and we set it up like this :

Jam Jar Set Up No.1


According to the magazine this should have produced a rainbow of colours in amongst the shadows however we only managed to get some yellowy green splodges but no rainbow.

We played about with this moving the jar around and shining the light through at different angles but still no rainbow.

I began to wonder if it might become a bit clearer in the dark so we set up a little tent under the high chair using a sleeping bag and a ground sheet (sticking with the camping theme) and little M was convinced he could see blue and red lines… I however was not convinced I could see any colours at all!

So we set to trying some different shape glasses, round, bumpy and rectangular. We never did get a complete rainbow but we did get the amazing triangular pattern above!

I spoke a little (and very simply) about how when light shines through glass it is refracted often resulting in the direction of the light being changed. I think my explanation was kind of lost on M and it certainly was way over anything any 1.5 year old or 3 year old needs to know. However little A took great delight at trying to repeat the word ‘refraction’ over and over for quite some time, adding to his vocabulary which is increasing at an alarming rate.

We then laid the paper flat and whilst I held the glass, Little A held the torch whilst M tried to trace around the light patterns. Typically however A soon tired of holding the light in one place and gained much more enjoyment crawling in and out of our little den and over the paper, having so much fun that M followed suit and laughter and games took over our little experiment.

With the glasses safely put back in the recycling bin, the torch away and the paper left on the table to be admired our den was soon transformed into a steam train and another mini indoor adventure began….


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