Shadow Games – a Great Way to Teach Kids About Light

KidsEmail70x70thumbnailHeather Bowcutt
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Shadow Hand Models - imagesThe seasons are changing. The days are shorter. We’re spending more time indoors, but that doesn’t mean that everything is doom and gloom.

Turn the dark into light with this fun activity that is both creative and educational.

When you were a child, you probably loved playing shadow games – casting eagles, bunnies, characters and images up on a wall and bringing them to life with stories.

You can share this chart of hand models with your kids to help them create their own animal characters. Play along with them and take on your own role in their shadow story.

But here’s a question for you: do you know the science behind those shadow games?

Science is our world, and our world wouldn’t exist without light.  Playing shadow games is a great way to teach kids this concept!

Shadow Games for Science Learning

Materials Needed:

  • Flashlight
  • Small Household Objects (e.g., rubber duck, comb, wooden spoon, fork)
  • A light-colored wall

In a darkened room, have your child face a wall. Stand behind them and shine the flashlight on the wall above their head.

Take one of your household objects and hold it in front of the beam of light. Ask your child if they can identify the item just by its shadow. Take this childhood game to the next step by…

  1. asking them “how do you think a shadow is made?”
  2. Moving the objects within the beam.

– What happens when the object is closer to the flashlight?

– What about when there is more distance between them?

So that your child can fully appreciate the science, give your child have a turn, too. Let them select objects and you take the turn guessing.

Hope this leads to some great indoor autumn/winter fun for you and your little ones!


This post was originally posted on the now-defunct Mom’s Choice Matters blog on 10/14/2014.

About Heather Bowcutt

Heather is the is the an author of the Kids Email blog, where she offers safety and parenting tips, for when the kids are online and off.

View all posts by Heather Bowcutt here.


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4 Comments on “Shadow Games – a Great Way to Teach Kids About Light”

  1. My grandkids have been having so much fun learned these signs and have been teaching their friends….i love watching kids learn other kids the things they learn.

  2. Its so cool that you are posting this just last weekend when the grandkids were here they were trying to make animal shadows…..i guess i need to practice these for next weekend when they visit !

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