I plan a week’s worth of lessons on shadows at Groundhog’s Day. One indoor activity that my preschoolers love is “Guess the Shadow.” I drape three sides of an overhead projector with black bulletin board paper (so that the children cannot see what I am placing on the illuminated table.) After turning out the classroom lights, I place a common object from the classroom onto the illuminated table. The children have to guess what the item is from it’s shadow. Once I have shown the children how the game works, I let each one of them take a turn selecting an object from a box of items I chose earlier. Things that make a distinct shadow are best: paint brush, scissors, crayon, magnifying glass, small cars, dishes/cups, piece of puzzle, toothbrush, glove, etc. This activity is easy to pull-off when you’ve planned an outdoor shadow activity and there is no sunshine!
Groundhog Tunnel Game… Have the children line up in a row. (If there are a lot of children, have them line up in two rows.) To form a tunnel, have them stand close together with their legs apart. Let the last person in the row be the groundhog. Have the first groundhog through the tunnel on his or her stomach. When the groundhog reaches the end of the tunnel, have him or her stand up and become a part of the tunnel while a new groundhog starts wiggling through.
Shadow Making… Explain to the children that objects that get in the way of the sun or a bright light cause shadows. Shine the light from a film projector, a slide projector or a lamp on a bare wall. Turn off the lights in the room. Let the children stand in front of the bright light and experiment with making their own shadows. Ask them to make big shadows, little shadows, animal shadows and moving shadows.
Last year my three-year-olds loved pretending to the groundhog as they took turns popping out of a medium sized cardboard box.