These simple drawing ideas for kids is shadow art created with basic art supplies and the sun! Shadow art is a fun STEAM activity for kids of all ages that is sure to inspire their creativity. Making shadow art drawings works well at home or the classroom playground!

Shadow art - child with long piece of white paper stretched across porch with face toward sun and a line of toys casting shadows that he is drawing around
Source: Mini First Aid


The challenge with making shadow art is how to draw around a shadow cast by a toy (or the subject of the drawing) without obscuring that shadow with your own! Look at the example above for inspiration. We have found that situating the child on the other side of the art work space can help kids stay out of the way of their own shadow art!

Related: Check out these super awesome art hacks and 23 Favorite Fun & Free Kid Art Lessons

The best time of day to make shadow art?

Shadow art can be made at any time there are shadows present. In fact, letting kids see the difference in shadows made in the morning, noon and afternoon can be a fun science extension to this clever art project full of things to trace.

6 Easy & Creative Ways to Make Shadow Art

1. Creating Shadow Art with Favorite Toys

Start this craft by having your kids line up all their favorite toys outside. You can even tell your kids that the toys are having a parade. Finish getting the craft ready by putting a piece of white paper on the ground behind each toy. Then, challenge your kiddos to trace the shadow on the paper before the sun moves.

Once they’re done tracing the shadow, it’s like they made their own coloring page. The kids will also get a kick out of drawing their favorite toys.

2. Drawing Portrait Silhouette Art

For this shadow art project, tape a piece of paper to the wall. Then have one of your kids sit with their face in profile. Setup a flashlight to create a shadow of your kiddo’s profile and have another trace the shadow on the paper. Have them finish the project by cutting the shadow out of the piece of paper and gluing it to a colored piece of paper for a new backdrop.  This can be a wonderful keepsake.

3. Chalk Shadow Art

My kids love chasing their shadows and seeing how they change depending on the light and their location on the sidewalk. This is one reason shadow art is considered a STEAM activity; your kiddos are learning how shadows are created. Help them chase their shadows by tracing their shadow with sidewalk chalk. They can then fill in the outlines with chalk or chalk paint.

4. Sculptures with Shadows

Shadow art - small pieces of paper with aluminum foil statues on top with shadows outlined in marker
Source: Pinterest

After the kids create a small statue of an animal or person using tin foil, attach the sculpture to a piece of a paper. Then, encourage your kiddo to trace and color the shadow in to complete the masterpiece. By adding the shadow to the craft, they’re adding dimension to their sculpture.

5. Capture Nature with Shadow Art

Shadow art with nature - white paper stretched out on grass with shadow of the tree above casting on the paper
Source: Creative by Nature Art

The shadows trees make with their trunks and branches can be pretty beautiful. Lay out a long piece of paper next to a tree on a sunny day and watch your kiddo create tree shapes by outlining the shadow.

The wonderful thing about shadow art? You can do it with just about any object and just about any season, as long as the sun is out.

6. Photograph Shadow Art

shadow art with photos - child making half a heart with hand against fence casting shadow creating nice photo opportunity
Grab your camera and create some shadow art to remember…

Grab your camera and capture your child and their shadow.  There are so many creative ways that kids interact with that dark figure that follows them everywhere and getting a snapshot of the fun can be a great memory to keep forever…even when the shadow goes to bed.

More Shadow Fun & Art from Kids Activities Blog

Which shadow art technique are you going to try first?

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  1. I love all of the educational aspects of shadow art! I believe that tracing greatly helps people of all ages perfect their drawing skills. Also, children could trace over the different shadow placements throughout the day for a science lesson! Great ideas!

  2. I find trees are a very complicated thing to draw. I love the idea of capturing the shape of the tree through shadow drawings. My students are going to have a blast with this activity.

  3. Shadow art is such a fun way to practice drawing skills and learn about light sources! My boys are going to love these activities when the warmer weather settled in.

  4. You know how there are certain crafts that really stick out from your childhood, and that you remember well into adulthood? ( For me it was making boondoggle bracelets and ceramic tile mosaic ashtrays at the neighborhood park’s playground house with counselors every summer, haha!)–this shadow art idea is one of those crafts!!! Kids will remember this one, well into adulthood!