Up Close and Far Away

  • Time Length
    Group Created with Sketch.

    1-2 hours

  • Mess Level
    Fill 1 Created with Sketch. Fill 1 Created with Sketch. Fill 1 Created with Sketch.

    A Little Messy

  • Cost

    Materials or Fees

  • Difficulty
    Shape Created with Sketch.



  1. the angle or direction in which a person looks at an object.

2 : point of view.

Question and Wonder:

  • How close do you have to get to something before you can’t tell what it is?
  • How far away until you can’t see an object?
  • What is perspective?
  • Why do things look smaller when they are far away and bigger when they are close?
  • Have you ever heard a plane, but couldn’t see it? Why do you think that is?

Grab some small items from your house or outside that have different textures like towels or sponges, rocks and leaves. Lay them out on the ground or a table and stand a few feet away. Keep moving away until you can’t see them anymore.

Now get closer and closer and closer until your nose is right on top of them.

Try this with something large like a tree or car or your house.

Imagine and Design:

  • How far away do you think you will have to get before you can’t see the texture? The color? The shape?
  • How do you think your perspective is changing?
  • What else can you do to change your perspective? Lie down? Stand on a chair? Close one eye?
  • Are there things you can use to help you see things close up or far away? What are they?
  • How does sound help you tell how close an object is?

Test and Discuss:

  • What did you notice about how your perspective changed with distance? Angle? Height?
  • What details could you see close up that disappeared when far away?
  • What other ways can you test perspective?

You can make your own magnifying glass and binoculars. Here’s how:


Draw a circle on the curved part of the 2-liter bottle. Cut out the circle. Put a little water in it and hover it over an object you want to get a closer look at.

Fill the jar with water and look through it at something you want to examine.


Cover the toilet paper rolls with construction paper and decorate. Hold them side by side and tape them together. Attach the string (if using) to hang around your neck.

  • When you use a magnifying glass or binoculars, how does that change your perspective?
  • What more can you see? Why?
  • How do these objects help you to focus?

Extension Activity:

Perspective can also mean: a  particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.

We all have different points of view. For example, I like fall because I love the cooler weather. From my perspective, a perfect day is about 55 degrees outside. My daughter, on the other hand really likes snow. She likes it cold! From her perspective, the perfect day is about 30 degrees. Neither of us is wrong, we just have different taste and points of view or perspective.

Learning to understand different perspectives and to try to see things the way someone else sees them is the beginning of empathy.

Here’s a link to a simple activity to get you started on Perspective Taking:

Did you know:

Children under 12 do not process sensory input the same way adults do. A child’s sensory input is not fully integrated and they often make judgments based on the first visual cue they receive. While adults combine different kinds of visual information into a single unified estimate.

While doing these experiments, your child’s answers may be very different from yours and that’s okay. Talk about what you are seeing vs what they are seeing. Share your “perspectives”.

Print Instructions