How to Make Colored Shadows

Sometimes summer plans don’t go as we wanted them to, especially if we end up with rainy days! Last week, we ended up being stuck in the house when we really wanted to be enjoying the sunshine. We pulled out a few lamps and created our own shadows. To our surprise, shadows don’t always have to be black. Today, I’m sharing with you how to make colored shadows.

How to Make Colored Shadows


  • 3 light bulbs – green, red, and blue
  • 3 identical lamps
  • a white background
  • a couple of objects
  • dark room

How to Make Colored Shadows

Setting it up:

Place a different colored light bulb into each lamp. In a dark room, place the lamps in a row, each facing the same way and pointing at the same angle. This activity works best on a white background.

*Note: Supervise children with this activity; the lamps and light bulbs can burn a child if he/she tries to touch the light bulb once it has been on for a while.

The experiment:

We selected a few objects of solid colors to place in front of the lights. Then we turned on each light to see what happened to it.

How to Make Colored Shadows

It was really fun to explore how the light made each object look like a different color than it normally does.

I asked Aikman what he thought would happen when all 3 lights were turned on at the same time.

To his amazement, instead of the background becoming filled with all 3 colors, it actually created a white background, as we normally see it. However, more impressively, the shadows were not black, but multi-colored.

How to Make Colored Shadows

This lead to lots of exploring with the lights and fun with contorting our hands to make interesting looking shadows.

How to Make Colored Shadows

Before bedtime one night, we’re going to hang a white sheet on the wall and make jumbo-sized multicolored shadows with our bodies!

Have you ever made colored shadows?  What other fun things have you and your kids done on a rainy day?