Easy Shadow Frame – Science of Shadows

Summer is a great time to learn about shadows and as my children are a little obsessed with contact paper at the moment we thought a shadow frame might be a fun idea.

I’ve also got a collection of 10 easy shadow experiments you might like!

What you’ll need


Contact paper / sticky back plastic

Decorative paper

A sunny day


Cut the cardboard into a frame shape and stick contact paper on to one side.

Use your decorations to create a shape in the middle.

Take your frame outside and work out how to made a shadow.

How do shadows form?

Did you know a shadow is formed when an object blocks light. To block light an object must be opaque or translucent.

A transparent object will not make a shadow, as light passes straight through it.

Transparent materials let light pass through them in straight lines, so that you can see clearly through them.

Translucent materials let some light through, but scatter the light in different directions. We can not see clearly through translucent materials.

Opaque materials do not let any light pass through them.

Shadow Facts

The Sun makes the longest shadows at the beginning and end of the day, when it is is lowest in the sky.

The Sun makes the shortest shadows at midday, when it is highest in the sky.

Extension Tasks

Can you write down 3 examples of transparent objects, opaque objects and translucent objects?

Can you investigate how to make the shadow bigger and smaller?

Can you make a nature version using leaves and sticks or a weather picture?

More shadow science experiments for kids

Make a Gruffalo’s child shadow puppet.

Make a sundial using just a straw and plasticine!

Rhythms of Play also has a great human sundial activity!