Multisensory Monday: Optical Illusions with Bossy R

Multisensory Monday: Optical Illusions with Bossy R

Posted by Brainspring on 22nd Jul 2018

R controlled vowels (ie “Bossy R”) can be practiced with this Thaumatrope activity, which is a fun DIY toy and optical illusion that can be used to accompany a lesson with Bossy R sound /ir/.

A Thaumatrope is a toy that was popular in the 19th century. The word originates from the Ancient Greek word for “wonder” (thavma, θαῦμα) and turns (tropos, τρόπος), roughly translating to “wonder turner”. And I think it really will leave students in wonder as they see two images becoming one!

The toy has two images, one on either side that morphs into one as it turns- creating an optical illusion of a bird inside a cage.

Make it Multisensory …


  • Cardstock
  • Scissors
  • Two pieces of string cut 5 inches long.
  • Glue
  • Cartoon images of a bird and a cage printed out on the same card stock (the two images need to be roughly the same size)



  • Trace a circle that measures no more than 2 inches in diameter. Cut it out.
  • Glue the images directly in the middle of the circle.
  • Poke holes or use a hole puncher to make two holes on both sides of the circle, as shown.
  • Wind up the toy and hold the strings taught so that it can spin and create the optical illusion.



Written by Georgia Diamantopoulos

Georgia is a tutor at Brainspring Learning Center in Shelby Township.

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