Shadow Puzzles

This project first originated as a desperate attempt to keep my toddler busy while waiting for our food at a restaurant. Our first shadow puzzle included silverware, sugar packets, condiment bottles, and a few toys from the diaper bag traced onto a napkin with a pen I had in my purse. Since then, it's become a fun activity that my 2-year-old loves to keep him busy when I have a few things to get done. His big brothers even love making shadow puzzles of their own for him! It's definitely a sanity-saver when you need to keep your kids occupied in public, and it only requires a few materials.

  1. Ages: 0 - 8

  2. <30 minutes

  3. A little messy


Materials you'll need

Step-by-step tutorial

  • Step 1

    Gather all materials. For this part, we went around the house gathering some of my toddler's favorite toys and some items from the kitchen. I tried to find things that had a definite and unique shape.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 1

  • Step 2

    I laid out all the items on our construction paper and traced them using a pencil and then a marker.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 2

  • Step 3

    Then, I removed all of the objects and used different color markers to color in each item. My toddler loved this and spent a lot of time going over each color.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 3

  • Done!

    My toddler spent a lot of time matching up each object to its shadow and playing with the different items. I was amazed at how much time he spent at the table manipulating all the different things and showing me which ones they didn't match with.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 4

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