Writing with light and shadows

On occasion, I like to pull out my overhead projector for the children to enjoy a little exploration of light and shadows.  On this occasion, I invited the children to explore the overhead projector in a number of ways…

To start out, I set up the projector so it pointed to a large wall and covered the wall with white paper to use as our projecting canvas…

While some of the children arranged shapes (plastic gems) on the projector the other children used a crayon to try and trace the shapes on the wall. As you can see, our light was a little bigger than our paper so we had to try and find the shapes that were actually on the paper before drawing…

The children also used the light and paper on the wall to try and draw their own shadows…

This was particularly challenging since the children had to figure out how to stand out of the way of their shadow and still draw around their shadow all at the same time…

There are many ways we can explore light and shadows with the overhead projector but this was the children’s first time to explore with the overhead projector so for today, the children focused primarily on using their eyes to follow the shadows and their crayons to either trace or to mark the shadows…

Super simple and very fun too!

Available on Amazon


Links to Grow On

Art Project: Overhead Projector from Tinkerlab

S is for Shadow from Preschool Daze

Using the Overhead Projector from Teaching Two and Three Year Olds

By |2012-04-04T07:00:02+00:00April 4th, 2012|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. School Sparks Renee April 4, 2012 at 11:55 pm - Reply

    I loved the idea of children drawing their own shadow. They really needed to be problem solvers for that! Thanks for sharing, Renee

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. April 5, 2012 at 2:23 pm - Reply

      Definitely! It was interesting watching them try to figure out how to trace their shadows then walk away to see the results!

  2. crystal@growingajeweledrose April 5, 2012 at 12:22 am - Reply

    I have been wanting to purchase an overhead projector for a while now. I love that you have added links to relevant products below posts. Thanks to the addition, I now see an overhead projector that is affordable, and looks compact, and easy to store. Thank you 🙂

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. April 5, 2012 at 2:22 pm - Reply

      I hope you are able to find one that will work for you. I have two different overhead projectors – not sure where the second one came from but my class really enjoys exploring with them.

  3. Gabrielle April 5, 2012 at 1:56 pm - Reply

    What a fun idea for a rainy afternoon. This would be great shape practice for my preschooler. Thanks for the idea!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. April 5, 2012 at 2:18 pm - Reply

      You are welcome Gabrielle:)

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