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The Super-Sized-Mega-Big-Post on Playing with Shadows

photos via Small Types


So I bet you’re expecting a slew of shadow puppets and Halloween fun from this post, right?  You won’t be disappointed – there’s TONS.  That is, afterall, what sparked the idea for today’s collection.


But in tracking down lots of interesting shadow activities, I found a surprising number of ideas that don’t involve puppets or jack-o-lanterns.  In fact, I’ve found activities for every occasion – indoors, outdoors, daytime, nighttime, sun, or rain.  I’m sharing my favorite first (to ensure that your curiosity is peaked) and the rest will be peppered in with all the silly scary fun you’re expecting.


First up is this rad shadow book.  Every little kid adopts his shadow as his best friend for a time – how great would it be for your little one to have a whole book about his new pal?
photo via MiniEco
Shadows are nothing if not spooky.  I love that these simple shadow makers from MiniEco allow even little kids to get in on the fun without being too frightful.
Click through for the rest of the goods.

photo via MiniEco

And here’s their bigger kid version – made from a cereal box and equally fun.

photo via Martha Stewart
To round out the Halloween section, here’s a project from Martha herself.  I like how the placement of these guys make their shadows contort in a creepy way.  Get the templates here.
photo via The Chocolate Muffin Tree
These rain shadows do require a bit of strategic planning (or at least some fortuitous timing) but the effect is pretty darn cool.
Photo via Drawing Mom
Check out this adorable short film on a bunch of first graders’ adventures in puppeteering.  (Their teacher’s method is rather clever.)
photo via giver’slog
For more DIY shadow theater inspiration, see this stunner at giverslog.  I love the drama she’s got going on with those drapes.
photo via giver’slog
She also has this smaller scale theater and suggested making it as a Christmas gift last year.  Aren’t you glad I’m showing it to you in September so you have plenty of time to make one this year?
photo via Adventure at Home
Here’s another handmade theater.  This one was done at home with a large sheet of baking parchment in preparation for a much larger scaled shadow-puppet-making session hosted by a museum.
photo via frolic!

Once you decide on a theater, you’re definitely gonna want to download this sea creatures template.

photo via Projects for Preschoolers
Don’t have the time/energy/ambition to get your DIY on?  No problem, read up on the simple fun to be had with shadows and glass here.
photo from Two Girlz Stuff (via pinterest)

This pinterest find has my mind reeling with the possibilities.

photo via Paint on the Ceiling

I can’t decide which is cooler, the image on the wall or the crazy looking apparatus that put it there.


photo via Tinkerlab
Finally, I’ve got 3 more easy-peasy ways to play with shadows:
  1. Tinkerlab’s idea of using props to create all sorts of interesting images and tracing them with sidewalk chalk.
  2. Childhood 101’s suggestion to help your kiddos take their shadows for a walk at night – yeah, you heard me.
  3. Getting the kids to test out Simple Kids’ assertion that their shadows are longer in the winter due to the Earth’s northern hemisphere being tilted away from the sun.
So that’s it.  If you do one of these activities a day, you’ll have enough stuff to keep you occupied for two weeks straight!  I’m pretty sure I got it all but leave me a comment if I missed something.

Similar Stuff:
DIY Puppet Theaters & The Benefits of Puppet Play
Meet the Light Box – Your New Must Have Toy?



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