Activity Introduction

bbrw-people-photoframe-newQuick summary: This activity is designed to encourage children to explore how shadows are created. Children will discover that different light sources and different materials can create different kinds of shadows. Older children will also discover that the sun can create shadows of different width and length at different times of the day. 

This activity is designed to help connect children to the wonders of the natural world through sensory and play-based learning.

EYLF Learning Outcome


Outcome 1: Children have a strong sense of identity

2. Children develop their emerging autonomy, interdependence, resilience and sense of agency

Outcome 2: Children are connected with and contribute to their world

3. Children become socially responsible and show respect for the environment

Outcome 4: Children are involved and confident learners

1. Children develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination and reflexivity

2. Children develop a range of skills and processes such as problem solving, enquiry, experimentation, hypothesising, researching and investigating

3. Children resource their own learning through connecting with people, place, technologies, and natural and processed materials

Outcome 5: Children are effective communicators

1. Children interact verbally and non verbally with others for a range of purposes

3. Children express ideas and make meaning using a range of media

5. Children use information and communication technologies to access information, investigate ideas and represent their thinking


Resources required:

  • Torches (optional: a light box if you have one, or create a simple one by following the instructions to Make your own lightbox)
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • A clock for telling the time with children
  • A collection of materials that are:
    • transparent (see-through, e.g. drinking glass, reading spectacles)
    • translucent (allowing light, but no details to pass through. e.g. plastic lunch box, sheer curtains)
    • opaque (not allowing any light to pass through, eg: book, bag).

Supporting resources:

Supporting resources:


The team at Cool Australia continually reviews and refines our Early Learning resources in line with expert advice and current educational practices.


Teacher Worksheet

bike-sun-heroBackground information

Children foster their curiosity about the shadows that are cast when light is shone upon objects with different levels of opacity (opacity = the degree to which light travels through matter) by playing with shadows.

Children create shadows using their bodies, their hands as well as other objects, toys and materials. These shadows can be used as inspiration for imaginative play and creative story-telling.

Older children create shadows at different times which will create different shapes and provide a useful starting point for deeper discussions about time, day and night, changing seasons and the solar system.


VIDEO: Following the Sun: Crash Course Kids (

Scientific Thinking:

This activity is designed to engage children in scientific thinking, wonder and exploration. Science is a way of thinking and understanding the world, interpreting experiences and collecting data that will help children to form an a

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