Early Literacy Tip:  When you’re talking with your preschooler, look for opportunities to use different words to help build his or her vocabulary. A large vocabulary is important for a child who is learning to read. When you’re talking with your preschooler, ask lots of questions that don’t have a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer which allows them to use their vocabulary.

THEME: What’s That Shadow? by Christopher Harbo
I used this nonfiction book to introduce the theme and have a short discussion about shadows.  Then I chose a few pages from the book and let the kids guess what made the shadow.

FLANNEL BOARD: Guess That Shadow!
We continued guessing shadow shapes in this activity.  I placed each “shadow” (cut out of black felt) on the feltboard and recited the short rhyme below.  Once they guessed, I put up the matching clipart.

I’m a shadow. Look at me!
Do you know whose shadow I might be?

Here are links to the clipart I used:
ElephantAirplaneBirdStrawberryHouse Tree

shadow feltBOOK 1: The Foggy, Foggy Forest by Nick Sharratt

SONG: My Furry Little Shadow
I actually showed this YouTube video from Sesame Street while we danced to this song.  It’s fun to watch Grover and his shadow move together…and all the kids giggled at the ending.

POEM: Shadow Wash by Shel Silverstein
I made some very basic people shadows to go along with this silly poem. Hide the small one in a bucket and then pull out this “shrunken” shadow at the end.

 photo (4)  

I’ve never washed my shadow out
In all the time I’ve had it.
It was absolutely filthy I supposed,
And so today I peeled it off
The wall where it was leaning
And stuck it in the washtub
With the clothes.
I put in soap and bleach and stuff,
I let it soak for hours,
I wrung it out and hung it out to dry,
And whoever would have thunk
That it would have gone and shrunk
For now it’s so much
Littler than I.

BOOK 2: Secrets of the Apple Tree: A Shine-a-Light Book by Carron Brown
This was the book that inspired this whole storytime!  Shine a flashlight behind each page of this book to uncover the hidden secrets of the apple tree.  I turned some of the lights out before reading this book so that it would be easier to see.  This one elicited lots of ooo’s and aaah’s from the crowd!  (Tip: To get an good “shadow” picture, I used this Energizer Folding Lantern.)

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 9.19.17 PMSHADOW PUPPET STORYTELLING: Arthur’s Nose
Anne at So Tomorrow has an awesome shadow puppet story based on the book Arthur’s Nose by Marc Brown with printable patterns!   I didn’t have an over head projector like Anne, so after cutting out my pieces from black cardstock, I glued them to jumbo wooden sticksThen I held them up in front of a light source (like portable projector or spotlight) to tell the story.

photo 5 (2)The basic idea of the story is that Arthur doesn’t like his nose anymore.  He goes to the doctor to have it changed and the doctor has him try on a bunch of different noses so that he can decide which one he likes best.  In the end, Arthur decides that his nose is just right!

The kids had fun guessing the different animals noses as Arthur tried each one on.

photo 1 (3)

ACTIVITY: Exploring Shadows
Since the lights were already dimmed, we spent some time exploring shadows (we used a spotlight, projector light, and flashlights.)  I wish that I had left more time for this activity because I think the kiddos would have stayed and played for much longer.  They absolutely loved making shadows with their hands and bodies.  Sometimes it’s the simple things that are the best, you know?

photo 4 (2)CLOSING SONG: Shake My Sillies Out by Raffi

TAKE HOME IDEAS: Encourage parents & caregivers to continue talking about and exploring shadows once they go home.  Here are some ideas to share:

  • Make a point of noticing shadows and how they change whenever you venture out this week. Is your shadow short or long?
  • Trace your child’s shadow with chalk, and then a half hour later trace it again. Has your shadow changed shape? Why do you think that happened?
  • If it’s nice outside, play “shadow tag!”
  • Look at the shadows cast by other objects such as trees, cars and buildings.
  • If it’s not sunny out, build a blanket fort and play inside together, making shadows with flashlights.
  • Try making shadow hand puppets.

Busy Little Bugs ( has some great, free shadow matching printables!

Busy-Little-Bugs-Shadow-Matching-Game-from-our-On-the-Road-Learning-PackADDITIONAL RESOURCES

The Black Rabbit by Philippa Leathers

Jack’s Amazing Shadow by Tom Percival

It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw

One thought on “Shadows

  1. Pingback: Toddler Storytime: Shadows – Storytime Station

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