How To Explain The Science Behind 3D Glasses To Kids

Kids often ask us the hardest questions. 3D glasses are a fascinating item that a child might struggle to understand and an adult might have trouble describing. This article breaks down the basics and offers advice on how to explain the way 3D glasses work to a child in terms that can they will understand.
First, you need to understand how humans use both of their eyes in order to see the real world in its complete depth. Our eyes project two separate images to our brain in order for us to see the real world in 3 dimensions. Our brains then take these two images and put them together so that we can see things “in real life,” and we can distinguish how far away they are from us.
To a child, you could describe each eye as its own camera looking at an item from two different places. If you took a picture of a room in one spot, and then moved to a different spot to take another, those two pictures would look different, wouldn’t they? Or, have them look at their thumb in front of their face with one eye closed. Then, if they switch eyes, they’ll notice that their thumb seems to move to a different spot. That’s because each eye is looking at the thumb from different perspectives.
Tell a child that it would be much harder to judge where you should swing a bat at a baseball without two eyes. Or, you might bump into objects around you more easily because you wouldn’t realize how close to your body they really were. In fact, living life with the view of only one eye would be a lot like watching a regular TV show.
3D glasses take advantage of the brain’s ability to fuse two images together, and create a 3D image in the viewer’s brain the same way that they see 3D naturally in the real world. There are many ways that 3D glasses can achieve this effect. 3D glasses can use colors to filter two different pictures into each eye. Others use polarized lenses, allowing each eye to receive a different image by changing the angle at which each eye sees the screen.
Explain to a child that watching a regular 2D TV show is like looking at something with one eye. 3D glasses turn that picture into two different pictures, so each eye can see something different. Then, the brain can combine those pictures to make it look 3D, just like in real life.
By breaking down the 3-dimensional vision process and using the above examples, it should be much easier to explain to a child how those glasses give such a mind-blowing experience.