Create your very own hand-made animations, and learn about how we perceive motion.

A boy peeks over a paper disc
Daniel is trying out his thaumatrope


Make a thaumatrope and a phenakistoscope.

ExpeRiment with animation.

Learn how we process images and motion.

About this activity

We're all used to seeing films and animations. This activity is all about understanding a bit more about how these work, and why our brains perceive what is actually a series of still images as flowing motion.

By making a thaumatrope, you can learn about 'persistence of vision', as two images pass by your eyes so quickly that you are still processing one when you see the next, so your brain merges the two together to see a complete image.

A phenakistoscope works just like classic animation and movies. By rapidly showing one image after the other, each slightly different to the one before, a sense of movement is created. This known as 'beta movement', and is the basis of any moving image you see on a screen.