Exploring shadows with preschoolers is a fun and easy way to incorporate science into your day. This is a great activity to add to your Nocturnal Animals Day & Night Theme.
Use a flashlight to project a shadow of a common household object onto a wall and have friends and family members guess what the object is.
Be sure to have objects that will cast unique patterns onto the wall, some easy to guess and others a little harder.
Support vocabulary development and scientific thinking by adding descriptive language to the conversation such as thin, wide, petite, rigid, smooth, rough, long, short, curved, and shape descriptions.
Through discussion support children in discovering that shadows happen when an object blocks light. Support their thinking by asking them what details can and can't be seen in a shadow such as texture, color, size etc.
Change up the exploration by only revealing part of the object before showing it as a whole. This is a great opportunity to talk about Nocturnal Animals and what they might look like peeking out from behind a tree!
Invite discussion about the changes that happen to the shadow as you move the object back and forth to make it larger and smaller, or in this case you could also open and close the scissors or turn to the side. What happens to the shadow as the object moves?
Encourage preschoolers to continue the exploration on their own!
Extension: During outdoor play support children as they notice shadows outside, on a cloudy day challenge their thinking by asking where the shadows went that were there the day before.
Vocabulary to include: cast, near, far, large, small, shadow, light, overcast, shine, illuminate.
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