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Pre-school shadow activities

Updated February 21, 2017

Teaching pre-school children about shadows is not only part of the science curriculum, it's also fun. Learning about shadows teaches children about light and movement. If you're a nursery school teacher who is engaging students in a module on shadows, you can incorporate several activities to further their comprehension of shadows.

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Shadow tag

On a sunny day, take children outside to play a game of shadow tag. Shadow tag is played like ordinary tag, but instead of tagging a person, the person who is "It" tags the shadows of her classmates. Ask a student to volunteer to be "It." Have the rest of the students disperse. "It" chases her classmates, trying to step on their shadows. Once "It" steps on another student's shadow, that student becomes the new "It" and the previous "It" joins her classmates.

What am I?

Have students guess what an object is based on its shadow. Gather a collection of objects and turn off the lights in your classroom. Use books or pieces of paper to place a barrier around an overhead projector to prevent children from seeing the different objects. Turn on the overhead projector and place an object on it. The light from the projector will cast a shadow onto a wall. Have students guess what each object is. Turn it into a game and divide the glass into two or three teams. Award a point to each team when an item is correctly guessed. The team with the most points wins.

Pavement chalk silhouettes

Let students draw each other's silhouettes using chalk. Take children outside on a sunny day. Split students up into pairs and provide each pair with a stick of chalk. Instruct the pairs to locate their shadows and use the chalk to trace them on the pavement. Have them stand in different positions and trace the different shadows they make. They can use the chalk to decorate their shadows, if they would like.

Measuring shadows

Students learn how the size of shadows change when a light source moves in this activity. Split students into pairs. Provide each pair with a craft stick, a torch, a pencil, a piece of paper and toy cubes. Have one student in the pair hold the craft stick in front of the piece of paper and the other student hold the flashlight far away from the stick. Instruct the child holding the craft stick to use the pencil to trace the length of the shadow on the paper. Have the student holding the stick move it to another portion of the piece of paper. Instruct the child holding the torch to move it close to the craft stick and the child holding the stick to trace the new shadow on the paper. After creating the shadows, students use the cubes to measure the length of each shadow. Discuss how the size of the shadow changed when the light source moved.

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About the Author

Lily Mae began freelance writing in 2008. She is a certified elementary and literacy educator who has been working in education since 2003. Mae is also an avid gardener, decorator and craft maker. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in education and a Master of Science in literacy education from Long Island University.

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