STEAM Activity: Playing with Shadows

Sun STEAM Activity showing shadows with Primrose Friends

STEAM Activity: Playing with Shadows

As young children begin to explore the world, they start to see patterns in the way things around them change — like how day turns to night, how light fades to dark, and how shadows lengthen and shorten. The sun’s movement through the sky is a pattern of change that we experience every day, and one that your little scientist can easily observe. 

Help your child understand the sun’s movement and the shadows it creates with this STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) project. See the instructions below or click here for a downloadable PDF. This activity provides a fun way to teach early STEAM concepts, such as patterns of change.


  • Printer
  • Paper
  • Scissors (grown-up use only)
  • Tape or glue
  • Light source (such as a flashlight or phone)
  • 2 craft sticks (optional)


  • Grown-up step: Print the activity sheet and carefully cut out each of the Primrose Friends.
  • Grown-up step: To make handles, cut the two rectangles at the bottom of the sheet, roll into tight tubes, then flatten.
  • Use tape or glue to attach a paper stick (or craft stick) to the back of each Friend.
  • Turn off the lights!
  • With a flashlight, use the Friends to create shadows on a wall. Hold them at different distances and angles, move the light up and down and left to right, and see what shadows you can make.
  • Without the cutouts touching, try to make the shadows hug. Can you do it?

Questions to ask

  • How can you make long shadows?
  • Can you think of a way to shorten the shadows?
  • What are some other creative things you can do with the flashlight and shadows? 

For more STEAM activities for children, try making recycled cork boats, marbled milk paper or salty ice.

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