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Drawing around shadows

What you need

  • Paper
  • Pencil/pen
  • Favourite animal toys
  • Sunshine/lamp/torch


  • Encourages pincer grasp for stability when holding a pen/pencil
  • Encourages concentration and perseverance
  • Encourages critical thinking about how to make the shadows change

The experience

If you have a garden and it is sunny, this is a great outdoors activity. If you only have access indoors (or if only the clouds are out!) then it can be recreated indoors with a lamp or torch.

Ask your child to choose their favourite animal toy, and then place it at the edge of a piece of paper, so that the toy’s shadow falls on the paper. Your child can now trace around the edge of the shadow, and make a picture of their favourite toy animal! Once you have your outline, feel free to decorate your picture however you choose. 

To explore the shadows in more detail, you can explore moving the light source closer and further from the toy and observe how the shadow changes. Get your child to do this and talk about their observations. If you are outdoors (and moving the sun seems a tricky job!), instead you could return to your outdoor picture throughout the day and see how the shadow has moved. Ask your child to give their own suggestions about why this might have happened.

If you have an outdoor surface that can be drawn on with chalks, this can be a nice adaption to the task also. Have fun exploring shadows and creating outlines of your favourite toys!