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Shadow Drawing for Kids

Shadow drawing is a great way to get children outside and to experiment with light. Plus, this is a great activity for older children and adults who might not be the best drawers!

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Get outside and experiment with light!

Kids will love creating and recreating shadows on paper with this activity! Depending on the sun’s location and time of day, the shadow’s may be bigger or smaller, so experiment with the time of day and how the drawings turn out! 

🚶Invite the Community! Take this idea to the community and use chalk and an open area to trace an outline of children. Invite others to do their own pose and trace them!

🤔 Compare and Contrast: Mark off a spot on your paper and write down the time. Trace your animal. Wait a couple hours and trace the same animal in the same spot again - what do you notice? 

🏢 Add Depth: Blocks underneath your objects help elevate and add depth to your picture. Experiment with different shapes and heights!


For this activity you will need:

White drawing paper

Pencil crayons, crayons or markers

Objects that will cast a shadow

The sun!

Learning Outcomes




Communicating Findings


Presenting their ideas to others through drawings, telling, music and movement


Step 1:

Place your paper down on a flat surface outside in the sun.

Step 2:

Place on the bottom of the paper an animal/figure to trace. Ensure it casts a shadow on the paper. You may need to experiment with the placement of the paper and object to get it to cast a shadow.

Step 3:

Once the shadow on the paper appears, take your colored pencils/markers/crayons and trace around the shadow.

Step 4: 

Once fully traced, color in the object or add multiple shadows on one page to create a busy picture!

⬆️ For older preschoolers: Take this project to a larger scale by tracing people on the sidewalk using chalk.

⬇️ For younger toddlers: Younger children will love this activity as it clearly outlines the shape for them to trace. Encourage them to hold the writing utensil with the pincer grasp (thumb and first finger).

Playful Questions

Do the shadows look different in the afternoon and evening?

How can we arrange the objects on the paper to create depth?

What would happen if we were to do this activity right at noon when the sun is straight overhead? 

What would happen if we did this activity with an object that has holes in it?

What object should we trace next?

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