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6 Creative Ideas to Make Shadow Art With Kids

Creativity doesn’t require a ton of art supplies. In fact, some days, all your need is the sun, a shadow, and a way of capturing that shadow to get super creative drawings from kids. Shadow art is a fun STEAM activity that is sure to inspire your little ones that works well at home or the classroom playground!


The best time of day to make shadow art?

Whenever the sun is out and casting its shadow reading for a shadow drawing. In fact, letting kids see the difference in shadows made in the morning, noon and afternoon can be a fun science extension to this clever art project full of things to trace.

Here are some of our favorite ways of making art with shadows:

6 Easy & Creative Ways to Make Shadow Art

The challenge with how to draw a shadow is that you need the shadow to be cast by the subject of the drawing, but then your shadow (or your child’s shadow) can’t obscure that during the drawing process.  Look at the example above for inspiration.  The toys are all lined up closer to the sun than the child tracing the shadow.

1. Creating Shadow Art with Favorite Toys

Start this craft by having your kids line up all their favorite toys outside. You can even tell your kids that the toys are having a parade. Finish getting the craft ready by putting a piece of white paper on the ground behind each toy. Then, challenge your kiddos to trace the shadow on the paper before the sun moves.

Once they’re done tracing the shadow, it’s like they made their own coloring page. The kids will also get a kick out of drawing their favorite toys.

2. Drawing Portrait Silhouette Art

For this shadow art project, tape a piece of paper to the wall. Then have one of your kids sit with their face in profile. Setup a flashlight to create a shadow of your kiddo’s profile and have another trace the shadow on the paper. Have them finish the project by cutting the shadow out of the piece of paper and gluing it to a colored piece of paper for a new backdrop.  This can be a wonderful keepsake.

3. Chalk Shadow Art

My kids love chasing their shadows and seeing how they change depending on the light and their location on the sidewalk. This is one reason shadow art is considered a STEAM activity; your kiddos are learning how shadows are created. Help them chase their shadows by tracing their shadow with sidewalk chalk. They can then fill in the outlines with chalk or chalk paint.

4. Sculptures with Shadows

After the kids create a small statue of an animal or person using tin foil, attach the sculpture to a piece of a paper. Then, encourage your kiddo to trace and color the shadow in to complete the masterpiece. By adding the shadow to the craft, they’re adding dimension to their sculpture.

5. Capture Nature with Shadow Art

The shadows trees make with their trunks and branches can be pretty beautiful. Lay out a long piece of paper next to a tree on a sunny day and watch your kiddo create tree shapes by outlining the shadow.

The wonderful thing about shadow art? You can do it with just about any object and just about any season, as long as the sun is out.

Grab your camera and create some shadow art to remember…

6. Photograph Shadow Art

Grab your camera and capture your child and their shadow.  There are so many creative ways that kids interact with that dark figure that follows them everywhere and getting a snapshot of the fun can be a great memory to keep forever…even when the shadow goes to bed.

More Shadow Fun & Art from Kids Activities Blog

Which shadow art technique are you going to try first?

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