Exploring shadows: shadow play and learning in kids
Whether at school or at home, both teachers and parents face the same dilemma.
How to keep kids engaged in a meaningful and fun way that tears them away from the cold, hard screens of phones and tablets?
Children often pick up a toy and put it down fast enough that you will always have to be on your toes looking for new ways to engage them.
Well, here is one super fun way to have your kids spend hours playing, imagining and creating. Shadow play can be so much fun for kids besides being a very easy activity to set up. We are sure you remember spending several days playing with a torch and plain background, creating shapes in shadows for your family and friends. It really is that fun!
Here is how you can try it.
How to set up a shadow play area for your kids?
As mentioned before, shadow art for preschoolers can be a very easy activity to set up for kids. Here is a list of things you will need to make arrange this simple activity-
- A flashlight
- A plain wall
- Coloured papers or cubes
- A movie projector and a blank screen (to scale it up if you want)
Just hand each kid a portable, child-friendly flashlight and coloured paper cubes in a room with plain walls and watch them interact with light and shadow to form interesting reflections and patterns on the wall. That is really all it takes!
Be sure to monitor them though as they play, participating in their excitement of creating fun shadow shapes and prismatic reflections. They will be encouraged to exercise their imaginations more if they receive acknowledgement for their efforts.
You can also take it up a notch (especially if this is a classroom set-up) by pulling down the projecting screen and propping up your projector on a table. Kids can place their hands or their toys close to the source of light and cast large shadows on the screen, thus making up their own stories and having a gala time! Shadow art for preschoolers is really a very enjoyable activity.
Why do you love shadow art for kids?
Shadow art for kids is not only a great activity as far as developing their imaginations is concerned, it is also brilliant for developing their motor skills. As kids use their hands and fingers to manipulate the interplay of light and show and create interesting shapes, they develop their skills of focus and self control.
You can even encourage kids to practise this outdoors when the sun is out, thus encouraging off-screen playtime. However, avoid this activity outdoors during summers as the sun can be very harsh and harmful for kids. Practising it outdoors during the warm winter sun can also be a great way to improve your child’s vitamin D intake naturally.
How else can shadows for kids be incorporated into playtime?
You can include shadows for kids into their playtime in more creative ways that are just as simple, just as engaging and just as fun as the method above. All you need is an object, some drawing paper and a couple of pencils. Here are 6 more ways that you can use to engage your kids in shadow art.
- Use your kid’s toys to make shadow art
- Draw portraits on the wall
- Use chalk to create shadow art
- Make shadow art with tree outlines
- Use shadow puppets made of socks
Best done outdoors, if it is fine weather outside, take a couple of your child’s favourite action figures outside and place them at the edge of a drawing sheet. Place it in such a way so that figure casts a well-defined shadow on the paper. Encourage your kid to trace this shape and then colour it, creating their own masterpiece.
For this type of shadow painting for kids, you will need to stick a drawing sheet on your wall. Now take a flashlight and sit on a chair, letting the flashlight illuminate your side profile so it casts a concrete shadow on the drawing paper on the wall. Make your kid trace the outline of your face with a pencil and then cut that tracing out from the drawing paper. They can draw your features on it and paste in a scrapbook as a keepsake!
Kids love playing with colourful chalk! And the good thing is chalk is very easy to wipe away, not leaving any residue even if you use it on a concrete floor or the paved walkway of your house. So just take your kids out, place a toy or a figurine on the ground facing the sun so its shadow is clearly visible and have your kids use colourful chalks to trace the outline and fill it in with different colours!
Trees often create the most beautiful shadows on a sunny day. Have your kids step out with their drawing supplies on a day like this and make them trace the shadows of a tree on a paper. They can then colour this in with brown and green tones mimicking nature’s art.
If shadow painting for kids is not a feasible idea, you can always create easy sock bunnies and use them as shadow puppets. Just prop a flashlight on a stable surface so it faces a plain wall or ceiling. Turn it on. Make your child wear their favourite sock bunnies on their hands and watch them create interesting shadows by placing their hands in front of the flashlight.
Offering oodles of fun, shadow art is a great way to engage your kids in a different type of play time. Who knows, your kid might show a real knack for shadow art and you can help them harness their talent by encouraging all of the activities listed above. At EuroKids too, we try to come up with similar playtime activities for our preschool kids that can help tap into their imagination. Visit us to know more.