If you’re looking for a fun activity to keep your kids outdoors and engaged this summer (who isn’t?), we may have found just the thing.
Shadow drawing is a fun outdoor art project that your kids (and you) can try anytime the sun is out. All you need is some paper, something to draw with and a small toy or anything that can produce a shadow. Not only will this free project provide your kids with a creative outlet, but it’s also something they can do outside over and over again as long as the warm weather lasts.
We’ve seen several day care centers and parenting blogs post about shadow drawing, including Amy’s Daycare & Out of School in Edmonton, Alberta. Here’s a post from August 2021 that shows a group of kids doing some shadow drawings of their own on a gorgeous day.
As you can see, it basically just involves setting up drawing subjects (plastic dinosaurs seem to be a popular choice) next to a sheet of paper. Make sure the subjects are in the sun and casting a shadow onto the paper for your kids to trace — and there you have it!
The drawings left behind will be a cool mix of the real shape of the subject and the unique angles made by the way the shadow is projected.
The Best Ideas for Kids shared some shots of kids in New Zealand doing some shadow drawings of their own in 2019. This time, the subjects were a mix of plastic animals and dinosaurs.
We’ve also seen posts that show kids tracing the shadows of other people projected onto a piece of paper, either from the sun or a flashlight when indoors. You can also use blocks to build cities and have the kids trace the skyline that’s projected.
You could even have them do it simply with some sidewalk chalk if you want to skip the paper entirely.
And it’s not just for kids. On TikTok, we found a very satisfying example of shadow drawing used to make a plant come to life. User @valeriya_vakutina’s clip of her doing this activity has racked up more than 6 million views.
@valeriya_vakutina Active #meditation🙃 Shadow #drawing ♬ Toosie Slide – Drake
If you’re able to, it’d be great to jump in on this activity with your kids. Pretty much nothing beats spending time with your family in the great outdoors — especially if it’s relaxing and free.
Even celeb-status parents have noted how much they enjoy quality bonding time spent playing outside.
Even the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, penned a letter to the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices, writing, “Spending quality time together is such an important aspect of family life and for me, as a mother, it is the simple family moments like playing outside together that I cherish.”
We are delighted to share with you a letter of support from our Royal Patron, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge for #ChildrensHospiceWeek https://t.co/JwGbMb68kI @KensingtonRoyal pic.twitter.com/JStWpQZ3dP
— EACH (@EACH_hospices) May 23, 2018
This is something most parents can relate to — so bring on the summertime bonding sessions, right?
If you’re loving the idea of outdoor art projects for you and your little ones, there are plenty where this shadow drawing idea came from. You and the kiddos could also make adorable rock art together, take a nature walk or spend some time watching birds.
Another fun outdoor idea? Paint with water on the sidewalk (bonus for parents — it’s far less messy than chalk!).
You can even take your sidewalk art to the next level with this invisible spray that only appears when it gets wet.
You can purchase a 2-ounce bottle starter kit for $19 online or splurge for a 16-ounce bottle for $130 — a bargain for the hours of family fun it’s sure to bring!
Feeling inspired? What fun will you create with your family this summer?