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Shadow Simon Says

Can you make the shadow that Simon tells you to?


  • desk lamp with a 100-watt bulb (or a slide projector)
  • flat blank wall, projector screen, or other surface to project shadows onto

Key Science Concepts

  • You can change the shape of a shadow by moving and turning your body or the object making the shadow or by moving the light source.
  • You can combine shadows to make different shadow shapes.
  • Indoors, you can change the size of a shadow by moving your body or the object closer to or farther from the light.
  • Shadows grow bigger and fuzzier as the object moves closer to the light source, and smaller and sharper as the object moves farther away.


Encourage children to use vocabulary related to shadows, such as lamp, light, shine, outline, shape, solid, move, direction, shrink, grow, long, and short. Emphasize science process words like describe, compare, notice, observe, predict, and experiment.


Explain to children that they are going to play a game of Simon Says using their shadows!

  1. Tell them the rules of the game: I will be Simon. I’m going to tell you to make a certain kind of shadow on the wall. Then, you’ll make the shadow.
  2. Have children stand between the lamp and the wall. Dim the lights and turn on the lamp. 
  3. Then begin offering children a dozen or so different commands. These will provide a review of the different shadow shapes you experimented with in this week’s activities. Simon says make your shadow .  .  .
    • wave “hello”
    • show only three of your fingers
    • grow big and fuzzy
    • shrink and become as small as possible
    • have no arms
    • be as thin as possible
    • look like the letter “X”
    • mix with a partner’s shadow to create a big shadow shape

Pause between each command until everyone has done the pose.

  1. Then invite children to be Simon, each commanding the group to make a shadow.

Reflect and Share

Gather as a group and review the different poses, asking:

  • How did you make your shadow grow? Shrink?
  • What did you do when you wanted the shadow to be as thin as possible?
  • When was your shadow the fuzziest? When was it the clearest?
  • How did you make the letter “X”? What would happen if you turned the “X” sideways? What would it look like then? Have a volunteer demonstrate.