Playing with light and shadows

Playing with light and shadows

Shadows are the best! Even grownups enjoy exploring light and shadows.

Playing with shadows is something your child might enjoy the next time you are looking for a great learning activity.

When you are outside on a sunny day – especially in the early morning or late afternoon when the shadows are longer – point out your child’s shadow, your shadow and the other shadows you can see.

Show them how shadows change and ask them how they could change their own shadow. They will soon start experimenting – moving their arms and legs, and maybe even doing a little dance.

  • What happens when they jump? When they run? What happens when they walk in the shade?
  • Have a chat about the shadows and what could be making them. Where are they coming from?

Once you have introduced your child to the idea of light and shadows, you can start to play with other things that make shadows.

Collect things from your garden that will create new and interesting shadows – such as, rocks, leaves, pot plants, a bike, and garden tools. Then find a sunny spot to cast shadows and start to explore what they look like. See how they stretch and how you can move them around!

You could even trace around some shadows with chalk and see what happens to the shadow over the course of the day. Starting in the early morning, see how much the shadow moves, and how it changes in size.

For inside shadow fun, collect items from around your house. You can then put them on a windowsill, the floor or a table in front of a window. If you don’t have a sunlit window, use a bright lamp or torch.

Have some fun chatting and playing with the objects to discover the shadows they make. Your child can trace the outline of the shadows onto a piece of paper.

Next step: you could make some hand shadow puppets! These are great fun and can be used to put on a performance. Your child can re-tell a story or they can create one of their own. Your child will love playing with shadows again and again, inside and outside.