I made a set of ten items and their shadows, as pictured above. I chose figures with fairly recognizable shapes, but also tried to include a couple of tricky ones (like the cowboy) for some of the older kids in the group for whom guessing would be very easy. Each of the figures started out as a free coloring page, which I then colored digitally using Paintbrush on my Mac at work. (Microsoft Paint works just as well - I've used that in the past.) I found that some coloring pages couldn't be properly colored this way - they came out all spotty, or with strange edges - but I had the best luck with coloringpages101.com and coloringpagesforkids.info.
I found that the best way to make the shadows was to staple the coloring page to a sheet of black construction paper and then cut out the figure so that the coloring page and construction paper are cut at the same time. Then, like I do with all flannel boards, I covered each piece in contact paper individually and stuck some Velcro to the back.
The group I did this flannel board with was slightly too old for flannel board activities like this, so it wasn't the greatest experience, but for preschoolers, just putting the shadow on the board and asking them to guess is probably exciting enough, and might spark some interesting discussion. I also think this flannel board could be done with babies and toddlers, with the addition of a rhyme or song to structure the activity in such a way that a verbal guess from a child is not necessary. I haven't used it, but the rhyme I thought up goes like this:
Look at me!
Do you know
whose shadow I might be?
For toddlers, I would recite the rhyme, point out some key features of the object, and then reveal the actual object. I'd probably stick to only three or four objects each time, and I might also make some simpler ones for everyday things like spoons, balls, cups, books, etc.
I also like the idea of maybe using these with puppets. I did a rhyme called Groundhog, Groundhog at all my lap time programs last week, and used my groundhog and groundhog shadow as popsicle stick puppets. It went over really well, and was very easy to do. I don't know of any other rhymes about shadows, but it might not be too hard to write one to match some of the baby-friendly shadows.
There aren't a lot of great shadow books available at my library, so this flannel board gave me the chance to explore that concept in a way I might not otherwise be able to. An activity like this would also pair well with It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw.
This week's Flannel Friday host is Library Quine.
Also check out the following Flannel Friday related links: