Shadows Aren’t Just For Peter Pan: creative ways to engage your child

Peter Pan may have the corner on this market, but it doesn’t mean that your little one can’t have fun playing with his shadow too! My daughter was ecstatic today when she found her shadow following her along the wall. Shadow play is a great way to engage your child’s creativity and help her learn about the world around her. At different developmental stages your child will have a different understanding of shadows. Initially, your little one will think that a shadow or the image created by light is a real object (concrete thinking). But, as your child reaches new milestones and starts to develop abstract thinking, he will recognize that these images aren’t “real” objects. This is what makes shadow play so much fun and it never gets old! Your child will have a different understanding and experience at different developmental ages and stages.Diptic


Ayla Kissing Her Shadow!

Shadow Play Day: 

Pick a day to dedicate to shadow play! Use the ideas below or any others you can think of.

Story Time for Shadows!

Peter Pan of course makes the list, but here are a few more books with fun shadow stories. Grab these books from your local library or purchase them online at Amazon. Reading with your little one is always a great way to engage!

1. Guess Whose Shadow?

2. Nothing Sticks Like a Shadow

3. What Makes a Shadow?

4. Shadow Games-this book is really cool! It has die-cut monster shapes that you can use in front of a flashlight

5. Moonbear’s Shadow

Let’s get groovy with your little one’s shadow! 

1. Find a sunny spot in your house, and let your child play with their shadow against the wall

2. On a cloudy day, pull out a flashlight and shine it on the wall. Let your child stand in front of it and make fun movements.

3. Have your child lie down on a piece of butcher paper or a large sheet of white paper. Trace and cut out their “shadow”. Let them decorate it for fun.

4. Go outside and trace your child’s shadow with chalk on the sidewalk. Help your child color it in.

5. Play shadow tag with your child. Invite the neighbor kids to join in on the fun. Every time the child who is “it” touches or reaches another child’s shadow…Tag!

6. Create a mini dark room theater with a white sheet. Shine a flash light or desk light on the sheet and let your child place objects in front of the light such as finger puppets or toys. Show your child how to use her own fingers to make animals (example: bunny ears).Diptic

Snack Time in the Shade!

If the weather is nice, find the shade of a tree for snack time. You can point out to your child that the shade is really just the tree’s shadow!

A Special Movie Night for Shadows! 

That’s right…pull out the classic Peter Pan for family movie night! This will be a fun way to end the day. You can have your child point out every time he see’s a shadow in the movie. (I only recommend this for children ages 2 and older. Screen time for younger ages has been linked with learning delays.)

Finding fun and new ways to engage with your little one is always a blast! Leave a comment with any shadow play ideas you can think of or have tried! I love to hear ideas from other moms.

From The Mom in Me, MD