Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Chalice Children: A Program about Our Unitarian Universalist Community for Preschoolers

Activity 5: Shadow Play

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • A bright light with a focused beam, such as a flashlight or desk or work light
  • Variety of toys and shapes to cast shadows
  • Paper and markers
  • Optional: Tape
  • Optional: Camera or smartphone

Preparation for Activity

  • Watch this YouTube video on making shadow puppets with your hand. Practice making some hand shadow animals.
  • Gather some interesting-shaped toys and some cardboard shapes of people, animals, and chalices.
  • Choose an area of your meeting room that you can darken. Set up the light, and check to make sure that you can create good shadows.
  • Optional: If the day is sunny enough for shadows, consider doing your shadow play outdoors.

Description of Activity

Children create shadows using different objects, including their own hands.

Introduce the activity by talking about what it feels like to be in a dark room, in these words or your own:

Let's talk for a minute about being in the dark. Sometimes I'm scared when I'm alone in the dark and when I see shadows that I don't recognize. Does anyone else find it a little scary? What can we do to make it not scary? We can sit together. We can find out more about shadows. Who remembers what makes a shadow? [When something blocks the light, the light creates a dark area-a shadow-behind the object] Are we ready to play with some shadows?

Invite the children to the darkened area of your meeting room. Create shadows by using a light against the wall. Invite the children to hold up different toys and shapes and to experiment with the shapes of the shadows.

Invite each child to come forward individually and hold their hand in front of the light to make a shadow hand. Outline it on white paper. (You may like to tape paper to the wall first.) Help the children write their names on their shadow pictures.

Return to the well-lit area. Have the children hold up the pictures of their shadow hands next to their actual hands. Point out how the shadow hands are different from their real hands. Optional: Take a picture of the children with their shadow hands.

Invite the children to help clean up by putting away the supplies. Place the shadow hands near the door for the children to take home.

Including All Participants

If any children have big fears about shadows or the dark, keep the discussion light and short. Include words of reassurance that they are safe at your congregation.