This shadow sidewalk chalk art project for kids is a hands-on STEAM activity that can help children learn about shadow science and how shadows form while painting sidewalk chalk art. Making DIY chalk paint and painting shadow art is a fun outdoor art project and science activity for kids from toddlers to teens!
Making shadow sidewalk chalk art is a fun way to get kids outside learning and flexing their creative muscles while having fun creating art outdoors.
Invite children to trace shadows and paint them with homemade chalk paint for a fun outdoor shadow art STEAM activity that children will LOVE!
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Shadow STEAM Activity for Kids
Shadow art outdoor science is a hands-on STEAM activity that will help children learn about shadow science and that shadows are formed when an object blocks light.
In this art and science activity, ask children to use their bodies and other objects to block the sun’s light to create a shadow.
Next, invite the kids to paint their shadows to create shadow sidewalk chalk art. Follow the simple shadow sidewalk art step-by-step directions below to get started!
Shadow Sidewalk Chalk Art: Painting Shadows with Chalk Paint
Creating sidewalk chalk art by playing with light and shadows is a great way to get the kids outside to learn, create and have fun!
But first, you may want to try this Human Sundial Shadow Science Experiment to help the kids learn how the sun’s position in the sky affects the size of our shadows.
Next, invite children to trace shadows and then use them to make sidewalk chalk art.
We recommend tracing shadows at different times throughout the day to experiment and create shadows art of different shapes and sizes.
You don’t even have to make shadow sidewalk chalk art out of your shadow art tracings right away. Feel free to trace shadow art any time, and paint them later.
Just make sure your shadow art doesn’t get wet and washed away before you have a chance to paint your shadows to make sidewalk chalk art. Sprinklers can turn on and erase shadow art before children have the time to paint them–watch out!
Sidewalk Chalk Art Supplies
- Sunny Day
- Ample open space with no shadows and no clouds overhead. Driveways, parking lots, and playgrounds work well.
- Recycled chalk paint – Making recycled chalk paint is another great way for kids to explore science!
- sidewalk chalk
- Camera (optional)
How Do Shadows Form: Recommended Reading for Kids
Below are some outstanding books for children to help extend your child’s understanding of shadows and how a shadow forms. Any of the shadow science books for kids from the list below would make a great adjunct to this shadow art science lesson.
How to Make Shadow Sidewalk Chalk Art
Step 1 – Create shadows outside using the sun as the source of light.
- Invite children to experiment and play around with creating different types of shadows outside.
- Encourage kids to use their bodies and other objects such as leaves, toys, bikes, etc., to block the sunlight and create a shadow on the ground.
Step 2 – Trace shadows for sidewalk chalk art.
- Use sidewalk chalk to trace shadows in various positions. (Be sure to tell those silly kids to keep it clean!)
- To make shadow sidewalk art, trace the shadows of human bodies, animal bodies, and objects. Trees, flowers, and children’s toys are a few more shadow sidewalk art ideas you can try tracing.
- Finding a good position to create shadow art on the sidewalk or driveway can be challenging for kids at first, especially toddlers and preschoolers. So, encourage children to keep experimenting, and this is how learning happens!
Step 3 – Paint shadow sidewalk chalk art.
- Use recycled chalk paint, sidewalk chalk paint, or sidewalk chalk to ‘fill in’ or ‘color’ your shadows to create shadow sidewalk chalk art.
- Emphasize process over product. In other words, it’s more about the experience of learning and having fun than how the sidewalk chalk art looks or turns out.
Step 4 – Take pictures of shadow sidewalk chalk art.
- Sidewalk chalk art doesn’t last long–make sure that you take pictures of your beautiful shadow art creations!
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Next, Make shadows with a flashlight.
- After creating shadow sidewalk chalk art outside in the sunlight, invite children to see what happens when they use a flashlight indoors or outdoors at night.
- Encourage the kids to grab a flashlight to make a shadow at night and during the day outside.
- See if your children will naturally experiment in shady areas, if not see if you can lead them to come up with the idea on their own.
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Shadow Art STEAM Activity: Questions to Consider
Once children are finished painting shadow sidewalk chalk art, consider asking them a few questions to solidify the simple science concepts that they learn.
How do Shadows Form?
- Shadows form when an object blocks light.
How do shadows form outside?
- Shadows form when an object, person, animal, or earth blocks the sunlight or another external light source such as a flashlight.
What light source did we use to make shadows?
- The sun!
How did you block the light?
- The sunlight is blocked when an object (or body) is between the sun (external light source) and the sidewalk or driveway.
What happens when you block the light of the sun?
- It creates a shadow!
Shadow STEAM Sidewalk Chalk Art for Kids
Is there anything better than learning through play? My daughter had trouble figuring out how to make her shadow do what she wanted to make sidewalk chalk art at first.
As she played (experimented), she learned how to move her body in relation to the sun to produce the type of shadow that she wanted.
We loved working with recycled chalk paint and shadow tracings! Painting shadow art is a fantastic process art and science activity that we thoroughly enjoyed!
This activity is NOT just for kids. Creating shadow art with DIY chalk paint was like painting with dusty watercolors in a giant coloring book on the driveway so that adults could enjoy this activity, too. Try this shadow sidewalk chalk art idea with your children today!
Shadow Art Outdoor Science Activity: Chalk Paint Art for Kids
Shadow art outdoor science is a hands-on STEAM activity that will help children learn about shadows while making art. A fun outside art and science activity for toddlers to adults!
Don’t forget to check out our summer bucket list seasonal activity guide for more fun ideas.
Learn more about Rhythms of Play HERE!