I recently came across this beautiful artwork by Kumi Yamashita that amazed me. Isn’t it brilliant? Simple kids building blocks and light creating stunning artwork. I knew it would inspire the girls and had to show them. I was right! But we couldn’t try right away. We had to wait until a time when the sun was low in the sky so we could create beautiful shadows. Early this morning we went out to check.
Perfect! It was time to experiment.
We started with some of the plain blocks that we had. Some coloured ones of different shapes and some jenga blocks.
First, they placed different shaped blocks on the ground and noticed the different shadows they created.
Miss 5: ‘Look Mum, if I turn it this way it’s thin and if I turn it the other way the shadow is bigger’
They then started to make pictures with the shadows. Miss 3 is making stairs here.
Working out that putting blocks behind others means that you can’t see their shadows.
They eventually started building up to make taller shadows of different shapes.
They began to tell stories about what they were creating. This is Rapunzel’s tower.
After they had played with the plain blocks for a while I bought out our new rainbow blocks to add another dimension to their creations. These beautiful blocks were sent to us by the lovely Krystal from Sweet Elephants. I love them and have been admiring them for a long time. I knew that my girls would love them too and that they would inspire new block play.
They placed the blocks down and immediately noticed the magnificent coloured shadows they made. They were excited.
Miss 5 began creating scenes with the shadows straight away.
Miss 3 experimented with how to get the light to shine through the blocks, making the coloured shadows. I watched her turning the blocks around to face different directions and noticing the change in the shadow that was produced.
Balancing. Using lots of different shapes.
Eventually they decided to work together so they could both use all of the rainbow blocks.
As I had hoped, they discovered you could mix the colours. ‘Mum, we made orange with a pink and a yellow!’
Isn’t this beautiful? They continued playing for the longest time. So engaged. So much learning. So much creativity.
Can you tell I really loved this exploration? I think blocks outside in the morning is going to become quite a regular occurrence for us now. We are inspired! I think it would be interesting for them to combine the plain blocks with the rainbow blocks but because the rainbow blocks were so new, they didn’t do that today. They were totally taken with them once I brought them out, and the others were forgotten. This often happens with a new material and it’s why I don’t offer just one off experiences. We will revisit this again and again and each time something new will be created, more learning will happen. In the future I might extend the exploration by also laying down some paper with pencils for them to trace around their shadows and colour them in later, creating some art we can keep.