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Our summer School Age Crate includes a colorful art activity in which kids draw their own optical illusion—"worm tunnels" that almost seem to be moving! After doing this project with my kiddos, my seven-year-old became super interested in optical illusions and asked to see more.
We had a fun afternoon learning that optical illusion art is a type of art that tricks your eyes and brain! You might see shapes that look like they're popping out of the picture or things that look like they're moving when they're not. Optical illusion art can be found in all sorts of places, from books to museums.
Here are some famous works of optical illusion art:
Ascending and Descending by M.C. Escher: This picture shows a never-ending staircase that seems to go both up and down at the same time!
The Face/Vase Illusion: This image can be two faces looking at each other or a vase, depending on how you look at it.
"Penrose Triangle" by Oscar Reutersvärd: This picture shows an "impossible triangle," one that can be drawn but can't exist as a solid object.
Op art by Bridget Riley: This type of art uses patterns and colors to create the illusion of movement or depth.
Magic Eye 3D Illusions: These pictures have a hidden 3D image that you can only see if you look at them in a special way.
Want to learn more about optical illusions and how they work? This site for kids from the American Museum of Natural History has an awesome interactive lesson on how the brain fills in gaps when there is incomplete information, or creates an image that isn’t even there! The whole family will enjoy going through this together. Enjoy, and remember—seeing isn't always believing!