Light and Shadow: Preschool Science and Math

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Groundhog’s Day has come and gone, but the shadow of its promise of longer, warmer days lingers! For preschool science in February, we explored the world of light, reflection, and shadow. These activities are meant to promote lively discussions between children and their adult partners, which builds vocabulary and knowledge of the world.

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Shadow Mural

Children stood in front of light from an overhead projector and observed their shadows. During this open-ended activity, children and their grown-up partners had the opportunity to talk about how shadows change as the object is moves. Then, the children posed as their grown-up traced their shadow on paper with chalk. Children added words, labels, and even some made-up shadow shapes to complete the mural.

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Create a Shadow Puppet

Children cut out and decorated shapes, which they attached to a craft stick. This simple, open-ended craft, allowed children to explore shapes and the shadows they create.

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Guess My Name

Secret, shadow boxes sat on a table alongside a bucket full of plastic animals. The grown-up placed an animal in the box, without letting the child see. Children shone a flashlight through the hole and tried to guess the animal based on the shadow projected on the wall.

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Catch a Shadow

Bugs hung, suspended in the air, waiting for their shadow to be caught. Children could catch a shadow on a piece of paper and trace the shape, or simply catch it in their hands.

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Night and Day

In this activity, children could explore the relationship between the sun and earth regarding night and day. A floor lamp was stationed in the corner, next to inflatable globes.

Mirrors

Children and grown-ups had fun exploring reflection using mirrors, flashlights, and a disco mirror ball.

This program took awhile to think through, but has become one of my favorites. Stay tuned for the results of my weather program!

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