Magical moving dots

I have had this book titled, “Mouse Magic” by Ellen Stoll Walsh for a very long time but if you don’t have this book, the idea I am about to share with you is still great fun and you can easily make your own mouse magic…

“Mouse Magic” by Ellen Stoll Walsh is about a magical crow that shows the mouse how shapes can move when they are close together (optical illusions).  It is wonderfully illustrated but just a bit over the head of my students, so we did more of a picture walk than a read-aloud…

As each optical illusion came up in the book, Mrs. Courtney invited the children to take a close look and stare at the shapes to see if the shapes were moving (just like the crow asks the mouse to do)…

But the children were not able to see the shapes moving. They loved the idea of magical moving shapes but Mrs. Courtney and I got a giggle out of the children as they stared at the book but didn’t quite get how the shapes were supposed to be moving on the page…

But we weren’t worried that the shapes didn’t move on the page because we could make our own magical shapes that moved. All that is needed are two clear plastic cups and some sticker dots…

The children put sticker dots on the outside of both of their clear plastic cups any where they desired…

Once they had a set of stickers on the outside of both cups, the children put one cup inside the other and then it was time to make our color dots move…

To make the dots move, the children had to figure out how to hold one cup still while moving the other cup. For some, it is easier to gently hold the outside cup and then turn the lip of the inside cup. For others, it was easier to hold the lip of the inside cup and turn the outside cup.  This is kind of hard to explain so I hope you get the idea. It takes a little practice and some fine motor skill concentration and wrist movements (which is an excellent part of this process) and then presto! The dots are moving across each other!

Super cool and super easy to make some mouse magic!

Want to see it in action?  Then take a look at the video below!  (You may need to come to the blog post to view this video if reading this post by email or a reader!

Available on Amazon

PS. I couldn’t find any new “Mouse Magic” books on Amazon to share a link with you today – but their are used versions.

By |2012-12-02T07:00:48+00:00December 2nd, 2012|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Margaret December 2, 2012 at 7:19 am - Reply

    Yet again I wonder where your OT degree is? Excellent activity to encourage strengthening the arches in the hand, bilateral coordination and wrist control. Throw in the visual tracking and you have a wonderful occupational therapy activity.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. December 2, 2012 at 9:37 am - Reply

      I am actually learning by reading posts and comments from all you OT folks to look more closely and notice all the physical development that is happening in one simple process 🙂

  2. Play Create Explore December 2, 2012 at 8:51 am - Reply

    Oh I love this idea! We’ll have to look for that book and try it out with the activity. My son will think this is really neat! 🙂

  3. Pamela Courtney December 2, 2012 at 12:20 pm - Reply

    Wow, this fun easy activity is such a creative way of engaging. I don’t always comment on your blog to tell you what a rich resource you are but please know you are a gift, an amazing gift. Thank you for these amazing activities and experiments. I’ll be sharing this with my early learners in my lit program. I think this will be an amaing expanded knowlege activity. I can’t wait to do this!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. December 2, 2012 at 9:04 pm - Reply

      Well I thank you for commenting today Pamela:) I am so glad to know that you are finding ideas that you can share with your students too:)

  4. Mud Hut Mama December 3, 2012 at 5:05 am - Reply

    That sounds like such a terrific book and I love your activity and how you adapted the story for the younger set. What age do you think the book is geared towards?

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. December 3, 2012 at 8:27 am - Reply

      Hmmmm, I am guessing this book is geared more towards Kindergarten age or above 🙂

  5. Sara December 3, 2012 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    The past couple weeks you have had great ideas to complement what we are doing at home. First it was the feather writing while we were doing “f” and then I was happy to see the Magical moving dots show up on the week that we were doing “d” and activities with dots! Love the Mouse books too!
    Once again thank you for the clever ideas!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. December 3, 2012 at 5:46 pm - Reply

      It’s so fun to find ways to incorporate ideas into completely different units! Love it!

  6. Cathie December 4, 2012 at 3:54 pm - Reply

    This is such a fun and simple idea. Two great components of a learning activity to support so many developmental areas at one time.
    Thanks for the post.
    Cathie @

    and Toddlers Through Preschool on facebook

  7. Umber October 1, 2017 at 5:59 am - Reply

    Thanks Deborah for sharing a wonderful activity. great for the development of eye-hand coordination

    • Deborah Stewart October 2, 2017 at 5:34 pm - Reply

      Thanks for stopping by Umber!

  8. […] “Magical Moving Dots” : A wonderful book and activity to explore dots! […]

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