Light, Blocks, and Shadows: An Art Exploration
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.
What a fun activity! I love that you used shadows in play. How fun!
Thanks Penny! It was really beautiful.
This is such a cool idea, so inviting! Makes me want rainbow blocks even more… Christmas is soon…
I know right. I love them so much! They’re so beautiful! And the girls do too. Miss 5 was writing a note to her friend tonight about how cool her new blocks are, LOL.
Gorgeous! We have a set of those blocks as well and they really are beautiful to build with when you have light streaming through them. That block shadow silhouette was amazing! I can see why it would have inspired you all. Thanks for sharing!
Wasn’t it just! I love it!
I love rainbow blocks! Every time I see them I am so inspired by their potential. Your children look so engaged and I love the natural learning process you took with them rather than just giving them the blocks straight up. Definitely on the xmas wish list!
Thanks for posting!
Thank you Kate! I can’t wait to see what else they do with them!
How adorable. I love reading how learning developed through play. Gorgeous post. Loved reading it.
Thank you Kate 🙂
What a glorious activity and a wonderful way to enjoy the morning sunshine.
Thank you Janice 🙂 It was a lovely morning for it too!
I so need some of these for our Rainbow Bridge family day educators. Oh, and my own boys too! Gorgeous pics.
I have admired them for so long!
We just love our window blocks too, they’re so much fun 🙂 I love seeing all the ways that you’ve explored light and shadow.
Thanks Kylie 🙂
What gorgeous rainbow blocks, I have had them on my wishlist for the longest time – maybe for Christmas!?? I love the story of your discoveries and experiments, I know my two girls would love this too.
Me too!! I have been admiring them for so long!
Thank you 🙂
We’ve been playing with shadows too lately… when we have some sunshine!
What gorgeous photos and so much learning and exploration!!
Thank you Kate! It was a lovely sunny spring morning here. I’ll send some your way.
What gorgeous blocks and lovely ways to play with them. I have long admired them as well, they keep showing up on blogs I read so will have to check them out 🙂
Thanks Chelsea. Me too!
My kids love their window blocks too! And I’m rather partial to them as well 🙂 I see why you were all inspired by the artwork you linked – beautiful stuff!
Thanks Kelly 🙂
I love the playful way your let them explore shadows. I’ve admired those rainbow blocks for a while – they are absolutely lovely with the sunlight shining through them!
Thanks Emma. They are aren’t they!
I just love how you have inspired creativity by using art with our gorgeous blocks. Your girls seem so captivated in the activity.
Your blog entries are always so beautifully written and I look forward to them. Thank you for a lovely read.
Thank you Krystal. They really were captivated by them.
This is beautiful meaningful work for them, I love it! I am commenting on this post, as it’s your most recent, but I have been going through the archives and just loved what I read. You echo my thoughts on so many things (socialization, writing, reading, the child led approach). I knew we would homeschool for years before compulsory age so I diligently researched and set up activities and printed things… And now I do a child led approach and it is so wonderful. My 5.5 year old is taking a track to writing that sounds like your daughter, even when I’m cooking she’s calling in to have me spell something. And I’ve learned not to be surprised that the two year old wants to learn at a different pace and different things than the older one did. I am also so happy I came to homeschooling, what a gift for our children… And us!
What a beautiful comment. Thank you!!
I feel the same, so grateful to have found homeschooling.
Your pictures are stunning, so inspiring. Looks like SO MUCH FUN!
It,s in my plans this year to build a light table for exploration and I want to invest in light table color blocks. Not as pretty as these, but I think they will be great fun for my little man. (and his big sister will surely jump in with him from time to time.)
I want a light table too!
The rainbow blocks look awesome and so much fun to play with!
I love them!
LOVE this post and I LOVE those blocks!
Thank you Kelly 🙂
These blocks look awesome!
Thank you for stopping by the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop this week. We hope to see you drop by our neck of the woods next week!
i love this post! so beautiful activity!
Thank you 🙂