Focus Scopes

Zoom in on your child’s world. Recycled-roll telescopes encourage close investigation while sharpening environmental awareness and visual acuity.


Don’t look directly at the sun, it’s not healthy for your eyes.

MATERIALS - click to buy
  1. Long, cardboard rolls - Recycled from paper towels like this example on Amazon, wax paper or aluminum foil
  2. 18” piece of yarn found here or cotton string like this
  3. Scissors - For adult use only!
  4. Large crayons and/or child-safe, washable markers like these.
  5. A dry day, free of difficult viewing weather such as rain or snow
  6. Optional - Nifty decorations such as assorted gems found here, self-adhesive wiggle eyes, or a bag of sequins
  7. Optional - Tacky, quick drying glue of white glue like this if you choose to embellish with heavier items like gems or wiggle eyes 
  1. Skilly Spark:  Talk with your child about what they see in the daytime sky.  Do they see clouds? Birds? Airplanes? Explain that they are going to make something to help them focus and to look closely at a small piece of the world at a time.
  2. Adults, use scissors to punch a hole 2 to 3 inches from one end of the tube. To make the hole circular and larger, swivel the tip of a scissor blade around a bit.
  3. Put a piece of yarn through the hole. Your child can help pull it through.
  4. Tie the end of the yarn together so it can be worn around your child’s neck.
  5. Ask them to decorate the tube with crayons or markers, anything in their imagination will do nicely. They can also accessorize by gluing three dimensional decorations such as gems, google eyes, buttons as available.
  6. Go outside, lie down on the ground and look up into the sky with their Focus Scope.  
  7. Ask them what they see.
  8. Move the Focus Scope and focus some more. What do they see now?
  9. Explore with your Focus Scopes as long as your child’s interest lasts.
Keep the fun going
  • Draw or paint pictures of what they have seen through their scope’s circle.
  • Try out your Focus Scopes’ night-vision with a night-time look at the heavens.

+ Thanks/Inspiration goes to the Venice Beach view of the Santa Monica Mountains.