Inspired by Storytime Secrets “Light and Electricity” storytime starter, I decided to do a light and dark theme for one of this summer’s STEAM storytimes. As usual, I used some combination of the following books and activities for my Preschool StoryLab and Book Buddies programs. Preschool StoryLabs began with the cooperative block building activity I mentioned here.
The Dark, Dark Night, by M. Christina Butler and Jane Chapman (Available through PINES). While a little on the long side, this book is ah-mazing for demystifying shadows. We also talked about the word “lantern” and what you would use lanterns and flashlights for.
What Makes a Shadow, by Clyde Rober Bulla and June Otani. (J 535 BULL). A great non-fiction companion to The Dark, Dark Night. Explains the science of shadows in kid-friendly language and illustrations.
Night Light, by Nicholas Blechman. (E COUNTING BLECH). The kids enjoyed guessing what kind of vehicle each series of lights belonged to. This book is great for vocabulary and talking about the different jobs of each vehicle.
The House in the Night, by Susan Marie Swanson and Beth Krommes. (E BB SWAN). This soothing story reminds me of Good Night Moon. The illustrations are beautiful and really capture the light/dark dichotomy.
Activity: I borrowed flashlights from library staff and the kids played with them. I also put out our colored scarves to experiment with the flashlights and color. I was thrilled when parents began taking their kids aside and showing them how to make shadow puppets!
Activity: I made my own light table with a clear storage tub, wax paper, and Christmas lights. With Sharpies, I colored shapes onto thick, translucent scrap material that I had and cut them out. I also used the front of a cheap acrylic picture frame as a tray and put colored sand into it for handwriting practice. I have also seen light tables used in painting/fingerpainting, which looks so fun and we HAVE to try.
Craft: Shadow painting. I gave each child a piece of black construction paper and we used masking tape to put the first letter of their first name onto the paper. Then, we used paintbrushes to apply yellow paint onto the paper. I thought that the black letter was sort of like a shadow and the yellow paint looked like the light. Last minute inspiration that the kids really enjoyed.