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Simple and Silly Illusions

Create Funny Optical Illusions For Kids!

Have you ever done a double-take when looking at a picture? Sometimes, photographers capture images that trick your brain into seeing something that isn’t there. In these cases, what you’re looking at are optical illusions.

So, what is an optical illusion? An optical illusion is an image that fools your brain using patterns, light, and color. Optical illusions can be found in the form of drawings, sculptures, or photographs.

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In this activity, you’ll create your own funny optical illusions. All you need are two simple materials and your imagination! With some sidewalk chalk, water, and a blank space on the ground, you can begin your masterpieces. Your artwork doesn’t have to be large or perfect to show your creativity and humor!

Don’t forget to take a picture of your funny optical illusions. You’ll want to keep this memory!


  • Sidewalk chalk in a variety of colors
  • Water
  • Camera
  • A kid to be your model!
  • Optional: props, such as a suitcase, umbrella, or superhero cape 

Three Funny Optical Illusions and How to Create Them

Defying Gravity

This simple optical illusion requires a small amount of art! The goal of this illusion is to make your child look like they are floating just above the ground. Here’s how to effectively accomplish this illusion: 

  • Find a wide-open space. Be sure to scoot away from cracks in the sidewalk, houses, cars, or any other objects that cast their own shadows. 
  • Put a small amount of water on the ground to create a circular shape. This is the shadow! 
  • Have your child stand at an angle from the circular shape. Have them keep their arms close to their body.
  • Snap a photo of this funny optical illusion to share with family and friends!

On Cloud Nine

Are you ready to get carried away with this funny optical illusion? In this photo, your child looks like they are floating through the clouds. To create this optical illusion:

  • Select a few bright colors of chalk for the balloons and white chalk for the clouds. 
  • Have your child lay on their back and position one arm as if they’re holding the balloon strings. The other arm should be facing down, holding a suitcase or bag. Position one foot with toes pointing down and the other foot at a 45° angle. This helps achieve the floating illusion!
  • You may need a ladder to take the photo from a bird’s-eye view to get the full effect of floating away to cloud nine!

Finding Balance

See if your child can find their footing in this funny optical illusion! In this photo, your child looks like they are balancing on a box. Follow these tips to create this optical illusion:

  • Select your chalk colors. You need three different shades to color the cube and a gray or black to create the cube’s shadow.
  • Start by drawing a square. This will be the front of your cube. Then, from the top left corner of the square, draw a straight line angled diagonally up to the right. Do the same from the top right corner and bottom right corner of the square. It’s important to use the same angle as the first diagonal line.
  • Next, draw a horizontal line to connect the diagonal lines coming from the top of the square. This line should be parallel to the top line of your original square. 
  • Draw a vertical line to the right of the square to connect those diagonal lines. Now you have a cube!
  • It’s time to add some bright colors to your art! Color the right side of the cube with your darkest shade of chalk. Color the front side of the cube with a slightly lighter shade. Color the top of the cube with your lightest shade.
  • Create the appearance of the cube’s shadow with the gray or black chalk.
  • Show off your balancing skills by standing on your tip-toes or with one leg in the air!
  • To get the full 3D effect of this funny optical illusion, stand on the ground and take a picture from an elevated angle.
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Bring on the Science!

How do optical illusions work?

When your eyes look at something, your brain immediately starts trying to make sense of it. It moves at a super speed to process all of the information! But sometimes it’s difficult for your brain to focus on everything at the same time. It’s kind of like trying to listen to a bunch of people talk at once! It’s pretty difficult, right?

Since your brain has a difficult task, it tries to take shortcuts to keep things simple and only focus on the important things. But your brain is actually fooled! Optical illusions cause your brain to look more closely at something to make better sense of it.

If your child had a blast creating these optical illusions, they’ll love our Science Junior subscription, which features a whole month of optical illusions! Shop here!