How to Use 3D Glasses at Your Child’s Next Birthday

If you’re searching for a quick and easy way to entertain your child’s guests at a birthday party that doesn’t involve screen time or paid entertainment, one option may be using 3D glasses and games for a fun craft that teaches kids a little about science! The science involved is Stereoscopy, a technique used to create the illusion of depth most associated with 3D images. It works by presenting two offset images separately to the left and right eye of the viewer, where the brain combines these two images to to give the perception of 3D depth.

Before you can get the kids playing 3D activities and games, you’ll need to have them create glasses. Creating 3D glasses is a quick and easy process once you have the right materials. All that is needed is oaktag (or a sturdy poster board), scissors, clear tape, a basic glasses stencil, and sheets of red and blue acetate (purchased at an arts supply store). NASA’s STEREO Learning Center provides simple instructions on how to build homemade 3D glasses, and even provides a basic pattern for glasses via PDF download. Once each child has built their new 3D glasses, you can suggest games for them to play. Two easy activities are creating a 3D book and having a 3D word scavenger hunt.

For the 3D book activity, the children will need paper, staplers or tape (to bind the pages), and red and blue sharpies or washable markers. Instruct them to draw a picture in either red or blue. Once the picture is drawn, have them outline the picture in the other color. It really doesn’t matter which color they use to draw or outline the picture; the effect is the same either way. The children can draw multiple pages and bind them together using a stapler or tape. Voila! Each child now has a work of art they can take home as a party favor along with the 3D glasses they created.

A fun game that will get the kids talking about how they had a great time at your child’s birthday party is a 3D word scavenger hunt. You’ll want to use crayons instead of markers for this activity, so make sure you have plenty of red and blue crayons available. The children won’t actually where the glasses because they’ll only need either the red or blue lens depending on the clue they are trying to decipher.

Have the children break up in to small treasure-hunting teams. Then hide objects around the house (or party venue) for each team to try and find. You can even create teams responsible for hiding objects and creating clues, and teams responsible for finding them. To create clues, write keywords in blue crayon on pieces of paper and then scribble over those words in red so they are illegible to the naked eye. The team searching for the object can use the blue lens of their 3D glasses to reveal the hidden clue by scrolling over the scribbled area once the clue is found. This is a great way for your child’s guests to search for “treasure” such as party favors or candy. For example, you could hide a stash of candy in the kitchen cupboard, then create a clue the reads KITCHEN to direct them to the location of the treasure. You can then create another clue in that location that reads CUPBOARD so they can find the goods!

Organizing fun events for your child’s birthday doesn’t have to involve video games, movies or an expensive entertainer. A small investment in some art supplies and a knack for creativity can go a long way. Creating 3D glasses and fun activities to use them with can kill time and keep the little ones happy and excited throughout the duration of the party.

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