Periscope Toy

Sometimes it seems like my children’s favorite toys are the ones I have made for them. This one was very simple, and came from Smart Toys: For Babies for Birth to Two. Materials I used

  • 3 empty paper towel rolls
  • Small shipping box (the book recommended a shoe box)
  • A mat knife and painting tape

Note that there are no mirrors, so technically this is not a true periscope, but that’s okay.  Cut an Three ovals the same width as the paper towel rolls on the top of the box and adjust to fit. Cut smaller ovals around the bottom and push the paper-towel rolls through. In the book, it recommended covering the box with contact paper to make it cute, but I knew that it the toy wouldn’t last forever and would be “loved” in the trying ways young children love their toys, so I spent very little time making the box look cute, and focused on its purpose- a device to roll small balls through.

The children have really loved this toy, and tested it with much more than just marbles. Some toys fit, some didn’t. Some traveled the tube quickly, others didn’t. The book recommended rolling a jingle bell through so that you could hear it traveling, and so I hope to try that when I can get my hands on one.
The hardest part of making the toy was waiting for the paper towel rolls to be empty, and preserving them long enough to have three. Total construction time: about 20 minutes. This activity is best for 1-2 year olds. Have fun!


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