We had the most wonderful, accidental learning experience at preschool recently. What started as a few flashlights in the block center quickly turned into a complex, exciting and robust study of light and shadows. The best part? There were no special supplies and just a minute of set-up. Come look at this beautiful Shadow Play center in our classroom:
Since we were reading about Punxatawney Phil, and how he didn’t see his shadow on February 2 we added flashlights to the block center in our classroom. In planning it, I imagined that the students would build something out of blocks, shine the flashlight on the building and explore the shadow.
They did do that, but then they also did this. ^^ They shone their lights through our magnetic tile blocks and were surprised (and thrilled!) to see that the shadows were colored.
They were very intrigued by this discovery, but we soon realized that the little flashlights did not create the big shadows that they were desperate for. Sooooo, we set up our movie projector to shine a HUGE, BRIGHT light onto a blank wall of our classroom. Wow! This was exactly the canvas that the students needed to make their shadow creations.
We explored tiny little finger puppets and great big scary chameleon puppets. (Not really, of course, but they figured out that if you hold the object close to the light source it appears to be gigantic!)
We made our own monster shadows, and our own heart shadows!
We even set up a table in front of the projector so that they could build structures and project the colored shadows onto the wall. Look at what happened to this color wheel when we set it on the table?!
The preschoolers started to get really creative, building larger structures with the tiles and noticing that they had to be only 1 tile deep. A cube of tiles projected a dark, regular shadow onto the wall.
Some of our younger children just set up their pieces and stared at them in the light. Aren’t they beautiful?!
Although we planned this center to go along with Groundhog Day, it was so rich with learning opportunities and discoveries that I think we will make it a regular part of our center rotations!
Have your children ever experimented with Lights and Shadows?! Have fun playing and learning with them today.