Sunny Day Shadow Play!

The easiest, most fun and mess-free science experiment for our (finally) sunny days!

The sun is finally starting to shine on us here in San Francisco and this science experiment allows you to capitalize on those sunny moments with no advance planning or purchasing of materials.  Follow instructions below for 5 steps to build curiosity, awe and joy on your next sunny day!

Step 1: Pick a place indoor or out where the sun is shining and shadows are casting. (If you are outside you may want to place a light-colored blanket or sheet down over the ground).

Step 2: Start to talk to your little one about shadows.  Experiment with your hands and bodies first-then ask your child to find a couple of objects and to guess what shapes the shadow will be. 

Step 3: Once they have discovered that the shadows generally make the same shape as the object (though sometimes bigger or smaller), talk about the color of the shadow and how it is usually dark, even though the objects may be different colors.

Step 4: Now comes the fun part-grab something colorful but translucent and watch the joy as they discover “color shadows.”  For verbal children be sure to ask why they think these objects are making color shadows and these other objects are not.  For all children, but especially the younger set, try not to talk too much and focus on the joy of discovery!

Step 5: Go on a “see-through” hunt around your house to find colorful translucent objects and let the learning, fun and scientific discovery begin!