Children of all ages are fascinated by light and electricity so even the most mundane of activities can become fun and exciting with the addition of a simple flashlight. Inexpensive and readily available, windup flashlights are especially useful since they don't even need batteries!
Try making your own projector by shining a flashlight through coloured cellophane to project the colour onto a wall. Older children can create pictures by cutting and sticking the cellophane sheets. Younger children may enjoy making flashlight fireflies by decorating a set of wings cut from thin card and taped to a flashlight. When the flashlight is switched on, the firefly will "glow".
A simple game for small groups of younger children can be played by darkening a room and shining a flashlight on to the floor or walls. The first child to touch the lighted spot is the winner.
Older children can perform flashlight relays. The children form two lines, each with a flashlight. The flashlights are passed along the lines with each child flashing it once. Any mistakes like passing the flashlight without flashing it or forgetting to turn it off again means that team starts over. The first team to finish are the winners.
For a flashlight treasure hunt, show the children an object and then hide it in an easily visible place in a darkened room. The children can then shine their flashlights round the room to spot the object. Either they can sit down when they've seen it and it can be hidden again or the object can be the prize for the first child to find it.
A simple nature walk can be transformed by giving the children flashlights and taking them out in the dark. Look for nocturnal creatures or just have fun shining the flashlights around!
Flashlight tag works best in a large space or outdoors. One child is chosen as "it" and given a flashlight. The others hide as "it" counts to twenty with the flashlight off. "It" can then use the flashlight to search for the others. The first child to be caught in the flashlight beam takes over as "it" and the game restarts.
Activities for Older Children
Small groups can shine a flashlight onto one member of the group so that their shadow falls onto large sheets of paper pinned to the wall. The rest of the group can then draw around the shadow to create a picture of that group member which can then be decorated.
Older children have the dexterity to make shadow animals. Using their hands in front of a flashlight beam they can create shadows on a wall that look like animals (or anything else they can think of). They can use the animals to tell stories. This is also a good activity for families since younger children may not be able to make the animals but they usually enjoy watching them and can join in with the stories.