Children will enjoy learning about something everyone has-a shadow!

Materials:

  • a few objects, such as dolls, trucks, balls, and so on
  • mural paper and markers

Developing Skills:

  • Children will discover and experiment with their own shadows and those around them.

In Advance: On a sunny day, gather children in a circle outside. Bring a small object, such as a book or a doll, with you to demonstrate a shadow. Talk about shadows. Does everyone know what a shadow is? Has everyone seen his own shadow? What other kinds of shadows have children seen? As children are sitting in the circle, can they see their shadows and those of their neighbors? What do the shadows look like?

ACTIVITY

Take a "shadow" walk with children around the school neighborhood. Look for all sorts of shadows-birds, trees, houses, clotheslines, cars, signs, people, animals, and so on. Do the shadows of things look the same as the actual objects? How are they alike? How are they different?

If possible, take a morning and an afternoon walk and observe the same shadows. Do the shadows look different at different times of the day? On your hunt, walk on both sides of the street. Are there places where there are no shadows?

During the walk, have children stand in the shade. Can they see their shadows? (Explain that shade is a shadow.) Look for shadows of moving cars, people, and animals. Do the shadows change as these things move?

SHADOW DANCING AND SCULPTURES

After you've finished the shadow walk, have some more shadow fun outdoors. Put on some music and invite children to dance. What happens to their shadows? As your children move, can they make their shadows longer? Shorter? What happens when they move their arms and legs in different directions?

As your children are moving, encourage them to step on each other's shadows. Every so often, say, "Freeze!" as you stop the music. As your children stand frozen, have them look at their shadows. Do any shadows look the same?

TRACING SHADOWS

On a sunny day, find an interesting shadow outside. Model laying mural paper on the shadow and tracing it with a marker. Provide children with paper and suggest they try tracing shadows. Encourage them to make several overlapping tracings of the same shadow by moving the paper in different directions.

After the murals are completed, provide markers, paint and crayons for children to color in some of the shadow spaces.

SPIN-OFF: Using black marker, make a large shape on a piece of white construction paper. Fill in the shape with a gray crayon. Have children imagine that this shape is a creature's shadow. Ask: What kind of creature do you think it is? Where does it live? What does it eat? What do it's family members look like? Later, give children the opportunity to draw their own shadow shapes, while others in the group consider the kinds of "creatures" that made each of the shadows.

BOOKS

Just for You: Lights Out!* by Angela Shelf Medearis (Scholastic, 2004; $4)

Shadows by April -Pulley Sayre (Henry Holt, 2002; $17)

Shadows and Reflections by Tana Hoban (HarperCollins, 1990; $17)

* To order, call 800-SCHOLASTIC.