Want to change your perspective? Pick up a kaleidoscope. These toys fill your vision with vibrant colors and geometric patterns. Kaleidoscopes are great gifts for the kids in your life, but you might want to keep one on your desk for when you need a break.
Most kaleidoscopes have a series of mirrors inside. The mirrors are typically long and narrow, facing each other in a circle. This pattern of mirrors reflects the image that’s on the other end of the kaleidoscope. The result is a captivating spread of colors and shapes.
While most kaleidoscopes function in a similar manner, each product has a unique design. If you’re buying a kaleidoscope as a gift for a child, it’s typically best to look for a simple cylindrical design. However, adults might enjoy a complex or custom product.
To help you focus your search, here are some of the best kaleidoscopes available online.
1. Schylling Classic Tin Kaleidoscope
This classic tin kaleidoscope makes a great gift or party favor for all ages. The tin structure of the toy is sturdier than plastic and cardboard products, holding up to general wear and tear. Multicolored beads add texture to the mosaic that you can enjoy through the viewfinder. Kids will love rotating the end cap to move the beads around. While the quality of the beads and appearance of the mosaic don’t match the vintage toy exactly, this product is still plenty of fun to use.
Pros: The kaleidoscope’s end cap is easy to turn. The outer design is eye-catching as well.
Cons: The paint might chip off the tin body with use. The beads can be noisy when you turn the kaleidoscope.
2. iKeelo Classic Tin Kaleidoscope
This sturdy tin kaleidoscope features a fun cartoon design that’s perfect for little ones. Rotation of the barrel reveals a variety of colors and patterns, as well as hidden sea creatures. The tin body and plastic lens are durable enough to withstand daily use, and the tin won’t rust easily. This product is seven inches long and is suitable for children over three-years-old. You’ll receive two toys with your order.
Pros: With ocean imagery on the inside and outside, this kaleidoscope can be an educational toy. The lens is made of non-toxic ABS plastic.
Cons: It can be tricky to see the animals through the lens. The tin may dent over time.
3. GloFX Liquid X-Kaleidoscope Tube
This kaleidoscope is great for adults, teenagers and older school-aged kids, especially those who are interested in light and patterns. When using this product, simply insert the 7.5-inch liquid wands into the lens body to experiment with shapes. The liquid wands are filled with oil and glittery flakes, so the images will slowly evolve and sparkle in the light. You can still see some visuals without the wands, but you won’t get the full effect.
Pros: Liquid kaleidoscopes often create more interesting visuals. The wands are made of plastic, so you won’t need to worry about cracks or spills.
Cons: The viewfinder might feel too small. The actual product may be smaller than it appears in the images.
4. SPADORIVE Magic Kaleidoscope Toy
This plastic kaleidoscope is 7.8 inches long and has a classic design. The exterior features astrological illustrations, and the interior lens includes a basic geometric pattern. You can rotate the end cap to watch the pattern change. This product comes in a three-pack, so it’s great for gifting to a set of siblings or simply keeping around the office.
Pros: The exterior illustrations are super detailed and look great on a bookshelf. This kaleidoscope extends four extra inches.
Cons: The glass can fall out of the kaleidoscope if the mirrors break.
5. Mseeur Magic Kaleidoscope
These cardboard kaleidoscopes are great for keeping your kids busy in the car or plane. The travel-themed illustrations will spark your child’s imagination. This product is just under a foot long when expanded, but it contracts to about eight inches for easy transport. You’ll receive two products with your order. Keep in mind that the cardboard isn’t as durable as plastic or tin, but the product is lightweight.
Pros: You’ll receive a small gift bag with your order. The kaleidoscopes are lightweight enough for young kids to hold.
Cons: The construction isn’t very durable, so this toy might not last through frequent use. The viewfinder might be too small for some users.