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  • Writer's pictureAmy Godfrey

Creative Play Ideas - Light & Shadow Photography

Sensory and creative play activities including many for those who are disabled and/or neurodivergent.


Learning & Development

  • fine motor skills

  • boosts imagination,

  • improves social, play, communication and observation skills

  • sparks curiosity

  • develops hand-eye coordination

  • improves focus and attention

  • supports emotional regulation

  • turn-taking

  • stress-relief

  • fun!

  • & creates opportunities for CONNECTION

Senses stimulated: SIGHT & TOUCH


For this activity you need either a bright sunny day or a powerful light source like a lamp or torch. I was inspired by my artist/teacher friend Katie Manning for for this after she posted a creativity prompt on her Facebook page about drawing around shadows. We started doing that then discovered the light created beautiful shapes and colours as it passed through various translucent items.


Approximate preparation time: 5 minutes

Suggested minimum age: 2 years


What You Need:

+ White paper or card

+ Camera (on your phone is plenty good enough - easier to edit and play with the images afterwards as well)

+ Pencils, pencils, crayons, paints, chalk, charcoal to draw around the shapes, if you want

+ Various opaque and translucent items.

+ Masking tape (optional)


How To Play:

+ Gather your items.

We used toys, bottles, glasses and tubs. Some empty and some filled with different liquids.


+ Clear an area of table or floor where the sun/lamp is shining brightly and lay out your paper/card.

Tape the paper to the table/floor if you want to keep it still.


+ Place an item in the light and see the shadow it creates. Try moving the item around and see which way creates the most interesting shape.


+ Take photos!

+ If you want to draw around the shadow, do. Maybe use different colours for each shadow as you turn and move the item around on the paper.


My youngest and I played for a good 2 hours at this one sunny afternoon. It was interesting too to watch how the shadows and light patterns changed as the time went on and the sun got lower and changed colour.


This activity can create really amazing photos - don't be afraid to zoom in and choose interesting angles and let your child have a go with taking the photos if they're old enough!






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