Shadow Art

(For Ages 4+)


  • Big piece of white paper
  • Colored construction paper
  • Flashlight
  • Safety scissors
  • Tape
  • Pencils
  • Crayons
  • Colored chalk

Recipe for Fun!

This play activity can be done indoors or outside. Using varied positions and angles will help children learn that differences can alter the shape of a shadow they create. Drawing skills are focused on, while a child’s creative skills are allowed to flourish.

STEP 1: Tape the big piece of white paper to a wall.

STEP 2: Help your child cut different shapes out of construction paper (circles, stars, hearts, diamonds, triangles, squares or random shapes.

STEP 3: Turn the lights off and shine the flashlight on the white paper while your child holds up one shape at a time.

STEP 4: Once your child likes what they see, have them trace the shadow on the white paper. (If they need assistance, prop the flashlight on a chair or stack of books to free up your hands.)

STEP 5: Depending upon the age of your child, encourage them to use their hands to create their own shapes to trace as well. Take turns making shadows and tracing them.

STEP 6: To create a larger work of art, have them hold up and trace multiple shapes. Take the paper off the wall and invite your child to color in the shapes that they traced.

STEAM TIP: Shadow art can be made at any time there are shadows present. Take your shadow art outdoors using the sun instead of a flashlight. Letting kids see the difference in shadows made in the morning, noon and afternoon can be a fun science experiment for this creative art project.

AGE MODIFICATION: Use the ground outside instead of paper on the wall. Have one child stand in place so that their shadow is cast out across the ground. The second child can then use chalk to draw the outline of the shadow. The person whose portrait it is then ‘fills in the blanks’. They can choose to make this as “real-life” as they like. Suggest they use a variety of different chalk colors to make their shadows even more artistic!

Benefits of Play: Creative, Cognitive, Social


More "Genius" Play Ideas