Social Distance Learning Project: Shadow Drawings

Looking to ensure that your kids spend their time outdoors this summer instead of parked in front of various screens? This shadow drawing project is a great way to keep your kids busy outside.


Paper, pencils, colored pencils or markers, figurines, and a sunny day.


  1. Set up the figurines at the edge of the paper. Make sure they are in the sun and casting a shadow onto the paper so your kids can trace the outline.
  2. Once the objects are traced, they can have fun coloring them!                                                                                                                                                                                       


Any object that can block the light so no light can pass through is called an opaque object. Your body is an example of an opaque object. 

The size of the shadow depends on the angle at which the light is falling on the object. Your shadow keeps changing throughout the day. It is longest in the early morning and the late afternoon. At noon, when the sun is directly overhead, there is little or no shadow at all. That’s because the position of the sun changes throughout the day. As the sun moves, so do the angles of its rays. A long time ago people observed and tracked the length of shadows throughout the day to keep time. The world’s earliest clock was the sun!


Use this technique to create an entire page of shadow drawings! Imagine a grouping of dinosaurs thundering across the paper, or poseable figures doing back bends and high kicks. Here’s another fun idea. Have someone stand on pavement in the sun to cast a shadow and let someone else trace them with chalk. Then draw in silly faces and add clothes to complete the portraits!

Sponsored by National Grid.

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