Shadows are interesting to children of all ages, but particularly to preschool children. There are a lot of interesting ways to teach preschool children about shadows. Teaching about shadows is easy and inexpensive, as all that is needed is a light source and an object. Use crafts, reading activities and other methods to teach preschool children about shadows.
Create shadow puppets and allow children to put on a dramatic performance. Have children draw animals, people and other objects onto poster board. Cut out the drawings and attach a craft stick to the bottom. Put the puppets in front of a flashlight (in a dark room) and let them see the shadows created from their shadow puppets and put on a play.
Preschool students don't have to make puppets to put on a shadow puppet play. Simply use their hands to create animal-shaped shadows. For instance, stick up two fingers to create a shadow that resembles a bunny rabbit.
Help children create a silhouette picture by having them draw a picture of simple-shaped items such as a ball or a five-petal flower. Cut the picture out and use it as a template. Trace the cutout onto black paper. Cut it out and mount it onto white paper to create a silhouette picture.
Create a decorative silhouette picture of a preschool child. Turn off all the lights and have each child sit in front of a projector. Trace the child's face onto a piece of white paper that is attached to the wall. Cut the silhouette out and paste it onto black paper and frame. Children will enjoy seeing their profile picture.
Shadow Related Book Activities
Reading is an effective method to teach just about any subject. Teaching about shadows is no different. Read the book "The Shape of Me and Other Stuff" by Dr. Seuss. The book shows pictures of things in silhouette or shadow. Turn off the lights and hold various objects in front of a flashlight. Ask children to use describing words to describe the shapes of the object's shadows.
Create a shadow alphabet book with students. Choose one object that starts with every letter of the alphabet. Create a shadow picture of each object by holding it in front of a flashlight and tracing the shadow on the wall. Have children help in the selection of the objects and creation of the book. Put the pages together in a book form when completed.
Other Preschool Shadow Activities
Take preschool children outside and let them stand with their backs to the sun. Provide them with sidewalk chalk and let them draw their own or a friend's shadow on the pavement.
Have children stand in a row with their backs to the sun. Have children dance and watch their shadows move. Ensure that there is enough space between them so that no one gets injured. Say "Freeze" and make everyone stay in position until the leader yells "Dance." Children will enjoy seeing the fun shadows that their bodies make while playing.
Stephanie Kelley has been writing articles and columns online for SGM Radio and SGN Scoops Digital since 2005. She has a Bachelor of Arts in art history/anthropology from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash. and writes on a number of topics including art, frugal living, children and travel.