Let's Learn From Our Shadow!

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,

And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.

He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head.

And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

By Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Lewis Stevenson’s My Shadow poem was my favorite as a child. Who doesn't love the idea of an imaginary friend that never leaves you, jumps and runs with you, and can become small and tall all in the same setting?

Today seemed like a perfect day to offer a few ideas on how to teach preschool children about shadows. Teaching about shadows is easy and inexpensive. You can make a grand lesson out of nothing less than a light source and an object. Today is quite dreary, and so your light source will have to be human made!

Body Shadows Science Activity

Today, encourage your preschooler to run and jump and move with their own shadow and create their own full body experience!


  • Your body

  • A sunny outdoor day

  • Flashlights if you can’t get outside

Body Shadow Game

You can play fun shadow games by calling out different actions, shapes and movement.

  1. Stand on one foot, reach high, squeeze low

  2. Make the letters X, Y, O

  3. Create shadow animal puppets

  4. Sing, head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

  5. Dance Party! Play some sweet beats to move to.

All of these movements will help your 3-5-year-old acquire body awareness.

Explore Outside

What things can we find outside that have interesting shadows? Have you ever noticed that at different times during the day our shadow is quite different?

Create shadows with favorite toys to see if they are longer, shorter, bigger or smaller depending on the angle of the sun or light shining atop it. We know the sun moves to different positions over the course of the day.

Shadow Puppets

A few weeks back, Ms. Angie made some animal shadow puppets. They looked like so much fun, I couldn’t wait to play with them! Cut out your favorite shapes and experiment on a light-colored wall with the puppet on a stick and a flash light. How can you make the puppet larger or smaller? That’s right! You need to move the light source, don’t you?

What happens if light can pass through an object; is there still a shadow?

Something More to Think About

Want to ask a hard question regarding shadows? Ask your child for ideas on how to "get rid" of the shadow made by a figure. Can you block it? Should we remove the light source? Let your child experiment and come up with a favorite solution all on their own.

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