01 February 2008

It's a kaleidoscope world

My memory of kaleidoscopes is a comforting one. I had such a toy when I was a kid. I remember having one vividly because there was a time when we were in Jungle Town (this is a neighborhood in Baguio - nice name, huh?) and I got sick for a week or so. My Nanay or a relative would keep me company, but most of the time I was alone in bed. A kaleidoscope kept me company. It was such a simple toy and yet it entertained me immensely. I wondered how the beautiful images were rendered when the cylinder is turned.

The kaleidoscope of those days were adorned with gift-wrapping paper., and at the opposite end where light enters is a round, transparent piece of glass. When my kaleidoscope finally got worn out, I discovered the hidden wonder within. Three long strips of mirrors formed an equilateral triangle, and colorful bits of flat, hard plastic were reflected on these mirrors. So that's how it worked.

I have been looking for ages for a kaleidoscope to share with my kid. Last December, I finally found one. A DIY kaleidoscope from Toy Kingdom! I bought one and had it wrapped up as a gift for Jo-Lo and me.

During Christmas vacation, I assembled the piece. Instead of glass and mirror components (which can be dangerous), this one has highly-reflective, metallic strips and a plastic cover.

If I were to do a review of this particular product, I would say that assembly is not as easy as 1-2-3. The cardboard tube is one size too big to comfortable fit the plastic covering on both ends. That was the frustrating part. I ended up with having the shiny wrapping torn and warped out-of shape at the cylinder's ends because I had to force the plastic covers on both ends. I also had a difficult time with the three reflective strips. You have to carefully "force" the strip into the tube, ensuring that the strips wouldn't bend and create unwanted folds onto the surface.

But having finally assembled the piece, I took a peep and was transported back to my childhood. This kaleidoscope has a nifty feature: you can change the bits that form the patterns in the chamber. And this is included in the kit as well.
It's nice to know that aside from toys, there are now many wonderful gift items for kids that not only entertains but educates as well. Aside from the kaleidoscope, there are science kits, magic tricks, pattern-making and beadworks for the girls.

Visits to the toy shop just became more interesting.
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