Printable thaumatrope designs for back to school.

Back to School Craft: Inspire Learning with Easy Printable Crafts for Kids

Paper Crafts

the blog:

This is a fun back to school craft that transforms into a craft to celebrate a new school year. A simple activity for welcoming students back after the holidays. 

Looking for worksheets back to school that are fun and easy? This craft requires just a little bit of paper and 2 elastics to make. Additionally, you get to learn about thaumatropes at the same time! It is a great first day of school activity.

Printable thaumatrope designs for back to school.
Looking for a fun back to school idea? Check out these printable thaumatrope designs.

Looking for A Back to School Craft?

If you are looking for a Back to School idea and easy crafts this is a great option. It is simple enough that it could work as a Back to School craft for elementary school or as Back to school Coloring Sheets for home. 

Building thaumatropes is also a fun big buddy – little buddy activity!

What are Thaumatropes?

A thaumatrope combines two images together. It was popular in Victoria times. The word is derived from 2 greek words: “Thauma” means wonder or marvel, and “trope” means turn.

Though each image is separate, we hold both images together in our mind and see them as a single image when moved at a quick speed. This is known as “persistence of vision.”

The thaumatrope was made popular by John Ayrton Paris in 1825, but existed before that date. Search some of the early thaumatrope designs, such as the bird in a cage.

Printing Options for this Back to School Craft

Start by printing out the back to school coloring sheets of choice. There are 3 designs to choose from: apple coloring picture cartoon, one that says “Hello my name is” and the third back to school printable has a welcome message. 

Additionally, there is also a blank back to school coloring sheets for students to draw their own thaumatrope designs.

Each page makes either 2 or 3 thaumatropes depending on the back to school printable you choose.

Printable thaumatropes to celebrate back to school.
Enjoy 3 Fun designs with this Back to School Craft!

Where do I Find the Back to School Activities?

You can find these Back to school activities on my website or on Teachers Pay Teachers. See the links below to download your Back to School Crafts!

My Shopify Site

Download on my website: Back to School Crafts: 3 Fun Thaumatrope Designs

Teachers Pay Teachers Site

Download on TPT store: Back to School Activities: Build a Thaumatrope

Included with the Back to School Coloring Sheets

Each of the back to school coloring pages makes 2 or 3 thaumatropes.

Back to School Craft Project includes:

-There are 3 different designs: 

  1. “Hello my Name is” 
  2. “Apple Coloring Page” 
  3. “Welcome to Grade __”

-Photo Instructions showing how to complete the back to school craft

-Video Instructions to help you assemble worksheets back to school

3 printable thaumatrope designs for back to school.
Printable back to school activity that is easy to prep!

How to Assemble Back to School Craft Thaumatrope

It is simple to assemble these back to school crafts for welcome back activity.

Read the Instructions below or watch the video to see how to assemble the thaumatropes!
  1. Back to School Printable: “Hello My Name Is” Design no.1

First color the images.

In the video example I colored both sides of the banner in blue, however I recommend coloring only the front side so that the text saying “Hello my name is” is more easily visible when the thaumatrope is spun. 

For this design use the additional printable template to write your name on the rectangle. Write it in a marker so that it is easily visible when slide below.

Next slide the rectangle below. The printable template has dots on the rectangle to help you line it up in the same spot each time. It is important to place it in the same spot each time so that the lines connect properly to form the words.

Finally trace half of each letter on side one. Then repeat and trace the opposite half of each letter on the second side.

If doing this back to school activities with younger students you can alternatively write the whole name on one side of the card.

Cutting out the Coloring Page Back to School

Now it is time to begin assembling the coloring page Back to School. First cut carefully around each shape. 

I did not do this in the video, however I suggest to make the thaumatrope stronger. To do this glue one of the shapes to a piece of cardstock and then cut it out again. You could find recycled material for this step, as it is hidden on the inside between both shapes.

Alternatively, print the image out directly on cardstock then you can skip this step altogether.

Rotate your Coloring Page

Then rotate one of the shapes so that one image is upside down. This will align the gray dots on one side and the black dots on the other.

Glue your Coloring Pages of Back to School Together

Then glue the two sides of your coloring pages of Back to School together.

Then punch a hole on either side of the Back to School colouring page.

Trim any area where the paper is sticking out. Alternatively, color in the extra bits along the edge with a black marker to create a more polished looking edge.

Lastly, insert the elastics on each side of your thaumatrope.

2. Back to School Printable: Welcome Message Design no.2

Many of the steps are identical for the other back to school designs. 

First, color the image.

Then insert your name on the space provided. 

Next, there are small dotted lines to help students draw the number representing their grade in the right space. A simple way to make block numbers is to draw the number lightly in pencil. Then, trace around it on both sides leaving equal space. 

I have also included a template with the grades already done. Included the file is the option for the letter K, and numbers from 1-6. 

Assemble this design in the same way as the first example.

3. Coloring Apple Picture Design no.3

The last design is the coloring apple picture that becomes an apple cartoon.

First, add faces and decide on a script for the coloring apple picture. It could be a welcome message or a joke. 

Next color the apples. Additionally, to see the text more easily when the thaumatrope is spun, write with a thicker marker.

This design is assembled in the same way as the first 2 back to school printables.

How to See the Blended Image on the Back to School Colouring Sheets

These worksheets back to school are moveable! To see the blended image either wind up the elastics and then release, or twist the elastics back and forth.

I hope you had fun with your students using this back to school idea. My wish is that these Back to School printables are used year after year and are helpful to you. I hope this Back to School easy craft inspires you to create your own Back to School craft projects using the blank templates too!

Other Back to School Crafts

If you are looking for another fun back to school idea that is simple to prepare and educational check out these 2 fun back to school activities!

  1. This back to school printable features a paint palette where students create colors that describe something about themselves. This is the perfect back to school craft to help you learn about your students and for them to learn about each other while building art skills. Learn how to build it on my blog: Get to Know your Students with Color Mixing
  1. If you are looking for worksheets back to school that promote writing check out this printable school bus. Students color the back to school colouring sheets on the front and fill the inside with stories about their summer, info about a class field trip, or a made up adventure of where they would like to go! To see the variations see my blog post: Inspire Writing and Adventure in Kids

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