We developed the set of resources on this page to support hands-on and playful engagement with light, color, shadow, and reflection. Get started with your own light and shadow explorations by checking out ideas for setup and materials. Jump right in and try out one of our light and shadow prompts, then share your process or project on social media with the hashtag #BlockBendBounce. You might end up featured in our community gallery of what kids, families, and educators are exploring!
Our team's investigations of light and shadow with young learners (ages 3 to 6) are part of a project called STEAM Starters supported by the California Department of Education to co-create versions of tinkering activities with preschool teachers and their classes. This work continues with educators, families, and people like you. We hope this page serves as a resource to support your own light and shadow explorations with younger learners at home or in the classroom. This activity is still evolving, so we will update this page with new materials, links, and ideas as we continue to learn.
Exploring light and shadow can launch learners in all different directions: they can engage with storytelling, color mixing, numbers and counting, geometric shapes, and more. What questions are the children you work with asking? What are they noticing? We hope this set of starting points will give you ideas for how to support their explorations. Download the set.
Light and Shadow Prompts
We're exploring light and shadow through a series of prompts and activity invitations. As each new prompt is launched, we'll add it to this collection.
Blocking Light: Calling all kids, families and educators! We're exploring light and shadow. A shadow is created when light is blocked. To get started, find a light source and an object to test. Share what you make with us using the hashtag #BlockBendBounce. Interested in sharing the prompt with your friends, class, or community? Download the prompt as images, a video, or a gif to share.
Bouncing Light: How can we bounce light? How do shiny materials reflect light? Can you make your light hit a wall or the ceiling? Download the prompt as images, a video, or a gif to share.
Bending Light: How can you change the path of light? How does light bend through different materials, like clear containers and lenses? Download the prompt as images, a video, or a gif to share with your friends, classroom, and community.