Spot the Shadow

For ages 3-8 years

Q: Why can’t you lift up a shadow?

A: They’re not light enough!


Spot the Shadow

A shadow is created with a light source (like the sun or a flashlight,) something that blocks the light (an object,) and surface for the light to land on (like the wall or the ground.) Check out the activities below and explore more on shadows.

First up, create your own shadow puppets.  For this, you will need:


Cardstock or thin cardboard






Blank wall or surface

1. Draw the outline of a shape on the cardstock 

Step 1


2. Cut out the shape and attach the shape to the stick using tape. 

3. Turn on the flashlight (remember to not point it at anyone’s eyes) and aim at the wall. Hold the stick and shape between the light and the wall.

Step 3

What happens when you move the shape closer to the wall and then closer to the light?

Next up, try hand puppets.

Keep your light source and your surface, and try to use your hands to make shapes for puppets.  Use the images below to help shape your hands.

Hand Shadows

Have you wondered why your shadow follows you but can be different sizes?

Children's Shadows

How does this happen? It depends on where the light is!

light source

Try this: With a buddy, go outside on a sunny day at different times and draw each other’s shadow with chalk and label with the time of day. Be sure to wear a mask and keep your distance. What do you notice about where your shadow is, the size of your shadow, and where the sun is?


After exploring shadows on sticks, with your hands, and outside, you might notice something about this image.  Share with a grown up what you now know about shadows!

Candle Shadow


Check out these videos for more information:

Kids Academy (for elementary aged children)

Peep and the Big Wide World (for preschoolers)