Be An Outdoor Explorer With Toilet Paper Roll Binoculars

Oct 9, 2015

Spending time in nature is one of the best things about my job at Parks Canada, especially when I get to share my love of the outdoors with kids!

Preschoolers who take part in our Club Parka program really like to explore. This project gives them a whole new way of looking at their surroundings.

Pretend binoculars or telescopes can’t magnify like the real thing, of course, but they can help kids zero in on things they may otherwise overlook—good for developing observation skills—and lead to all sorts of imaginary play.

We made spyglasses from empty paper towel tubes and toilet paper rolls, but you could also roll up a sheet of construction paper and tape it closed. Then we used stickers and markers to decorate and headed out to see what we could see!

There was a lot of excitement over every little discovery—an ant, an acorn, a bird, a glittery stone—and a lot of questions about everything we spotted.

A perfect way to introduce kids to the wonders of nature. Easy to make, eco-friendly and fun to use!

You Will Need:

  • empty toilet paper rolls or paper towel tubes
  • construction paper
  • elastic bands or tape
  • glue
  • markers, crayons, paint
  • stickers
  • scissors
  • string (optional)
  • Explore Nature With Parka printable PDF (optional)

Supplies for toiler paper roll binoculars.


1. If you want to decorate your binoculars or telescope with Parka, print the Explore Nature With Parka printable—it shows Parka having all kinds of fun outdoors! 

Parka, the Parks Canada mascot, having lots of outdoor adventures.

2. To make binoculars, attach two empty toilet rolls together with tape or elastic bands. A spacer can help keep the tubes lined up. Use a rolled up bit of paper taped or glued between the tubes.

Two toilet paper rolls held together with elastics.

2. Add a length of string threaded through small holes punched in the sides of each tube, if you’d like.

You'll Also Love: Printable Autumn Scavenger Hunt

3. It's time to decorate your binoculars or telescope! Wrap in construction paper and use markers, crayons or paint to add colour. Cut out pictures of Parka having fun outdoors and glue them on. Add stickers or stamps. 

A kids looks through a paper towel roll telescope.

These viewers can be used in any season and almost anywhere you go, whether you’re visiting a park, walking through your neighbourhood or looking through a window at home.

Have a wonderful time exploring!

Sheldon Matsalla is an interpreter at Motherwell Homestead National Historic Site in Saskatchewan. Club Parka is a Parks Canada program for preschoolers at national parks and historic sites across the country.

Kids can take part in the program online, too! Visit to download activity pages and get to know Parka, the busy little beaver who helps kids explore the world around them.

You can watch Parka weekday mornings on CBC TV, following each episode of Chirp.

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