Adults forget how many of the things children play with aren’t toys. A child’s play with shadows is like having play built right in. It comes attached.
Little ones can be scared when they notice their shadows for the first time. Shadows seem to be chasing them and no matter how they move, the shadows follow. There are some very cute videos on YouTube showing young children and close encounters of the shadow kind.
Older kids soon figure out ways to play with shadows. They discover how their shadows can move, bend, stretch, shrink, and do other tricks just by moving their bodies in certain ways. Shadows move in ways bodies can’t, like folding up on a wall. Shadows can change size too. It’s fun to make a shadow as long as a giant or as small as a doll.
It’s also fun to run around and chase shadows. Stepping on somebody else’s shadow head doesn’t hurt at all. Small shadows will completely disappear into larger ones. Shadows will dance, turn somersaults, jump, and freeze like statues depending on what bodies do.
Besides our own shadows, ordinary objects have shadows too. At night, the shadows from stuffies and toys loom large and scary. Using objects and the light from the sun kids can make strange shadows with ordinary things, such as a ball.
A hand and flashlight can make shadows that move. These are called shadow puppets. A bunny is just two fingers that wiggle like ears. Do you have a dark room or closet in your house? Let kids take a flashlight and create all kinds of shadows. Shadows might tell a story as kids pretend and imagine.