Work on spatial skills while you have your preschooler match the shadow with building blocks in this super simple activity.
This match the shadow activity might be my new favorite activity!
It incorporates so much into one activity… but only if you want it to!
I’ve been wanting to try shadow tracing for a long time with the kids.
I struggle though because anytime I want to do it we never seem to have sunlight pouring in the windows.
So for this shadow activity we used a flashlight.
I used this new multi-function flashlight from Energizer® that has a built in tripod to stand it upright and a tilting head to get the perfect shadow.
But you can do shadow activity with a regular flashlight and tape it in place so it doesn’t move.
Setting up Your Shadow Matching Activity
I taped a long piece of butcher paper to our floor with painter’s tape.
You don’t want the paper to move! Or things will not match up later.
I did this underneath a table and draped blankets over two of the sides to darken the area a bit since it was daylight.
You could try doing it in a darkened room or wait until nightfall.
To get this shadow activity started, I built the first tower.
And set up the flashlight on a chair to cast the perfect shadow.
I went on to trace it, but this is definitely something a preschooler can do to practice handwriting!
This part was all completed before I called Louis to join me.
I really wanted to focus this shadow activity on matching the shadow again by building the blocks to match it.
But if you have an older child, or your child has already done the activity, they might enjoy the setup process, too!
Time to Get Building to Match the Shadow!
So this is where it gets fun. I knocked over the tower I built and we started over!
I kept only the blocks I used out and set the rest aside so there wouldn’t be too much to choose from.
Louis got right to work building the blocks to match the shadows that I traced on the paper.
We noticed a few things when he rebuilt the tower:
- Colors don’t matter with shadows
- Shadow sizes don’t always match the block sizes, depending on the angle of the light
- And cylinders and rectangle blocks leave the same shadow
Cool learning, huh?
I loved the thoughtfulness and focus Louis had as he built!
A block slightly off made a big difference in the shadow, especially the higher up it got!
We did this a few times, moving the chair and the flashlight each time to cast a shadow in a different place on the paper.
The biggest rule is to not move the light after the initial tracing has begun.
If the light gets bumped, the shadows won’t match up again, and there will be frustrated kids and parents. Trust me.
Louis took turns building a tower and his own shadows too.
I think this one ended up looking like a haunted house.
Then he knocked the tower down and swiped the blocks away.
And started the process again to match the shadow. Placing each of the blocks in just the right spot.
Getting started is the hardest.
So Louis would start building the block tower, but I adjusted the base of the tower to make sure the shadows were spot on (because if they’re not, the rest of the tower ends up way off).
Learning Possibilities with Shadow Matching Activity
This matching shadow activity is fantastic for spatial skills. But also just basic knowledge of shapes.
It’s great for hypothesizing and testing to see what works, and trying again when it doesn’t.
A shadow might look like a square, but it’s really a rectangle that makes that shadow.
Let’s try to find out!
Keep the building going with 44 block activities for preschoolers.
Twists for This Shadow Match Activity
If matching the shadow is a little too difficult, or advance, you can simplify this activity to just matching the block towers like we’ve done in the past.
Or just make this a shadow activity to trace the shadow! Tracing is fantastic for pre-writers to practice their handwriting skills. And this is a fun non-worksheet way to do it.