I know it might be hard to believe but making shadows is actually a simple science experiment!
Yep, all those shadow puppets you tried as a child or those evening walks with the kids when they're trying to step on your shadow to see if it hurts (does anyone else's kids do this or just mine?!) = Easy Science Experiment :)
And with Groundhog's Day right around the corner, it's a great time of year to play with shadows!
Easy Science Experiments: Shadow Activities
Groundhog's Day is actually one of my favorite mini-holidays but not for the reason you think. Yes, I do enjoy science and all but more importantly, it was the day my husband & I first met. I don't even think he knew it was Groundhog's Day until years later when I mentioned it -- just one of those funny things you remember.
But I digress ... back to shadows (the REAL ones, not the kids when they follow you everywhere ;)
Here's the BEST thing about this experiment -- you don't need anything but light! Explain to the kids that the basic science behind shadows is an opaque object is blocking some light source from shining through.
So if you're outside in the sunlight, your body blocks the light from shining on the ground in front of you thus making a shadow. Look around at the trees and you can see the same principle -- sunlight can't shine through a tree so it casts a shadow.
Now try something that's not opaque -- like a window. Kids will see that a transparent item (one you can see through) will allow light to pass through it so there is no shadow created.
If you're indoors, the light in the room or a flashlight can be used to cast a shadow on the wall or floor -- or even the ceiling! Now that's fun :)
Here are a few of our favorite shadow science books along with their affiliate links so you can read more about each one:
What Makes a Shadow? (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1) is a great introductary science book for kids ages 3 - 7 years. Learn about how shadows are made and how they change.
Whoo's There?: A Bedtime Shadow Book -- this is an adorable series of books that made shadows come to life! As you read each story, use a flashlight app from your cell phone to shine shadow pictures on the wall.
Nothing Sticks Like a Shadow is an adorable story about how Rabbit tries to get rid of his shadow with the help of his woodland friends. Can you shake off your shadow? It's not that easy ;)
Now let's make this science hands-on! Try a few of these awesome shadow experiments with the kids:
Explore shadows and Groundhog's Day with these fun books & activities!
Re-enact your favorite Star Wars movie with these awesome DIY Star Wars Shadow puppets!
Or create your own hand shadow puppets with this Hand Shadow Puppets guide!
Make your own clock and tell time with shadows with this fun DIY Sundial project.
Have a fun afternoon creating shadow puppets with toys!
Use these free printable constellation cut-outs and turn your flashlight into a star-viewer!
I love this idea from Handmade Kids Art of engineering with LEGOS and shadow drawing!
Kids will also enjoy building their own LEGO groundhog and playing with his shadow.
And how about a challenge? Head outdoors and see how you can make your shadow bigger or smaller! Hint: you'll have to move your body :)
Try these other Simple Science Experiments too!