Light and Shadow Experiment

The topic for today’s activity was Light and Shadows. We did some fun and educational Light and Shadow experiment to learn about shadows. You can also use these shadow activities to show kids how light moves and changes throughout the day.

This activity can be done outdoors on a sunny day and is appropriate for age 4 years and up.

But as always before doing the activity I discussed with my son what is a shadow? why do we have a shadow? What are Transparent objects, Opaque objects, and Translucent objects? Do all objects have shadows? Why is your shadow sometimes big and sometimes small?

What is a Shadow and Why do we have a Shadow?

A shadow is made by an object, person, tree, and animals when light is blocked. When light cannot pass through a body, it forms a shadow.

Do all objects have shadows?

Transparent objects will not make shadows as the light will pass through them. Opaque and Transparent objects will only make shadows.

Why is there a different size of your shadow at different times of day?

The shape of the shadow will depend on the shape of the object. But the size of the shadow will change depending on light location.

We can see how our shadows change during the day when we are outside on a sunny day. The location of the sun in the sky determines the length of the shadow.

The shadows are long when the sun is low on the horizon. The shadows are much shorter when the sun is high in the sky.

Light and Shadow Experiments

We did two experiments to explain the above discussion.

First Experiment: Create Shadows

shadow of toys

You can take toys in the garden and create shadows. My son had a lovely time exploring shadow with his figurines.

You can show that shadow won’t be created in shade. It gets only created when there is sunlight.

You can try to create shadows at different times of the day.

He loved playing with his own shadow.

playing with own shadow

Second Experiment: Shadow Drawing

Supplies Needed

Now to do this activity you will need the below things

  • several toys
  • White paper
  • Marker/ pencil
  • Crayons/ painting colors


Firstly, you have to choose an appropriate time to do this experiment. It will be ideal to do it outside when there is the sun.

Place the toys or figurines on the paper .

Next, trace the outline of the shadows on the paper to make your own shadow art.

trace the shadows

To take the shadow art to another level, color it in with crayons or painting colors.

make shadows of toys

painting shadows

You can turn toys in different directions and see how their shadows change.

You can do the same activity indoors with an artificial source of light like a flashlight of your phone or torch.

More Ideas for Light and Shadow Experiment

There’s another fun idea if you’ve got more than one child. To cast a shadow, make one of your children to stand in the sun and let another small one draw his/her figure with chalk.

My favorite YouTube links on Lights and Shadows

Shadow by the Dr.Binocs Show

Lights and Shadows by learning junction

Do you know of any more shadow activities which are ideal for preschoolers? I hope you find these light and shadow experiment ideas helpful. Please comment and tell us your thoughts.

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