Much like Sunprints are a great way to introduce kids to the magic of photography, thaumatropes are one of the most accessible forms of animation. And so darling!
Antonio Ladrillo has created Phantoms, a set of 60 handstamped thaumatropes in a charming offset printed box. According to Éditions du Livre, which carries the limited edition sets, "A thaumatrope is a card with a picture on each side is attached to two pieces of string. When the strings are twirled quickly between the fingers the two pictures appear to combine into a single image due to persistence of vision." And persistence of vision is...well, it's complicated.
According to Wikipedia, it's either what's responsible for the human perception of movement, a myth, a theory that was replaced by phi movement & beta movement, more accurately described as iconic memory, or all of the above. Maybe we'll just focus on the cute cards. They're so cute! And I love that they're so simple, so kids won't be intimidated to create their own, which is where the real fun lies, I think.
Have you ever played with or made thaumatropes? For more information, see Random Motion for DIY instructions and The Richard Balzer Collection for a fascinating collection of thaumatropes from the 1900s.