Shadows are an interesting phenomenon that may be a little confusing to small children. This activity demonstrates how shadows are created when a light source is blocked and how light can be manipulated in creative ways.

set up ideas:
Collect objects from around the room that the children are familiar with. Move a table or desk to right in front of the whiteboard.

let's get started

Round up an assortment of blocks and other objects in the classroom. You’ll also need to use flashlights, whiteboard markers, whiteboard erasers and a large whiteboard.

step 1
Ask a child to demonstrate how to use a flashlight. If nobody knows how, show the children how to operate it.
step 2
Place a stack of blocks or other familiar items onto the table with the whiteboard in the background.
step 3
Shine the light on the blocks toward the whiteboard and point out the shadow that is created on the whiteboard or desk when shining the light on one side.
step 4
Invite the children to take turns exploring or creating shadows with their hands and other objects. Have them trace some of the shadows on board.

Talk about how a shadow looks different than the object it shadows. Discuss how things can be seen differently in different lights, and how this applies for people as well. People may be perceived differently depending on who is viewing them and what else is going on around them.
Tips and Tricks Tips and Tricks
Look up a variety of hand shadows to demonstrate for the children. Challenge them to try some of the trickier ones or make up their own.
Follow Up ActivityFollow up Activity
Plan for a day of shadow watching. On a day that the weather is nice, take the students outside to see their shadows at different times. Have them observe how their shadows vary in size and shape in the morning and afternoon.