It sounds like a disorder of some kind, but it’s nothing more than the ability to see a cat in the cloud above. Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (usually an image or sound) being perceived as significant. In other words, when you see a little face in a light socket, an animal in a cloud, or a growling mouth in the front grille of a car, that’s pareidolia. It’s about the mind trying to make sense of the abstract, and it’s a great concept to explore with children.

The Rorschach Inkblot Test is a psychological test which uses pareidolia to gain insight into a person’s mental state by showing them images of inkblots and asking them to explain what they see. Making inkblots is a great way to assess the mental health of your little ones…joking…but it is a cool activity, and interesting to look for the familiar in random blobs of ink.


  • paper
  • paint or ink
  • brushes
  • pencil crayons


Choose paper that is not too thick, and can easily be folded in half. Now fold the paper in half vertically, open, and apply ink or diluted paint randomly on one side of the centre crease. You can use as many colours as you like.

While it is still wet, fold the paper in half and gently press your hand on top. Open up the paper to see the mirror image that has been created.

Ask kids what they see in these random shapes, like insects, trees, etc. Once dry, they can use pencil crayons to further highlight what they see by contouring and adding details.


Why not have kids explore the idea of pareidolia by looking around their environment with fresh eyes, to see what unexpected things turn up. Geekosystem has some great examples to help them get going.


Finally, my inspiration for this came from the artist Kayla Barbeau, who’s pareidolia inspired work, Anxious Clusters, was shown at the 2012 OCAD Grad Show:

Anxious Clusters by Kayla Barbeau



Filed under painting, Pareidolia

20 responses to “Pareidolia

  1. Reminds me of being a kid! I love this. Also, very cool Geekosystem link! My son will love that site.

  2. Great project to use with the kids! Thanks for linking with me 🙂

  3. Absolutely fascinating. I am 58 and still love to spend time looking at the clouds to find objects!
    Came over from DIY.

  4. wow…thanks a lot for taking me back to early days… but there’s no boundary in watching the clouds… wish to join the kids… n njoy along with them… beyond the clouds…:)

  5. Love this! I always see stuff in the clouds 🙂 Thanks so much for linking up to Creative Thursday this week. I can’t wait to see what you link up next. Have a great weekend.


  6. LOVING this!!! I use to do things like that all the time.. and stopped… I will do it again.. and show my daughters 🙂

    Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer.. From Dream To Reality!

  7. Thank you for participating in Show Your Stuff Blog Hop, You are invited to come back:

  8. This is really cool, I remember of doing this in school, but never remembered the name. I see a person, with a mustache and go-tee! Does that make me strange of something! So glad you shared your creative inspiration with Sunday’s Best!

  9. What a lovely way to enrich the lives of children by making them aware of each of their senses. And older children can learn the definition of “pareidolia” and know something cool that most of us do not! I certainly didn’t! But I did recognize the cat shape right away…probably because we have 6 of them (all rescued)…including the one sitting on my keyboard right now! Love your blog! Thank you!

  10. Oh, how fun!! What a great concept to explore. I love it!! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!

  11. Omg I remember doing this when I was a kid! Love this!

  12. Pingback: Interesting :) … – Claudia Hermary Another Land

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s