Flashlight Day Ideas  

At the beginning of the week a note was sent home asking for any kind of flashlight, with their name on it, on Friday for a special activity. It didn't matter if it worked or not. I brought in a few from home and I asked the homeroom parents to send in an extra one. We wrote names on masking tape to put on the ones without names.

We had a 3 group rotation in an hour and did these activities: I created pages for a book called My Flashlight. In my group we did a few pages -we drew it then measured the length with unifix cubes. The aide's group measured the circumference at both ends and used a balance scale to see how many spoons or toy cars it would take to balance it.

These are the flashlight activities we did:

We took turns naming at least 3 properties of our flashlight such as, color, heavy/light, big/little, smooth or bumpy, strap/handle/none, or writing/pictures/nothing on it.

We sang My Flashlight Song 1 and 2

Then we had a longer/shorter competition! I pulled 2 name sticks and those children compared their flashlights. The "longest" one stood on one side of a desk and the "shortest" stood on the other. One at a time, as name sticks were pulled, each child compared their flashlight to the two standing. If his/her flashlight was longer than the "longest" one standing then he/she took the place of that person. Same with the shortest. The last ones standing were declared the longest and shortest winners in the whole class.

We played "I Spy." We shut off our classroom lights and closed the blinds, then I named something and we searched for it. We shined our flashlight on it when we found it. You can also take turns pulling name sticks and letting the children name something for eveyone to find.

We played a rhyming game. I said 2 words and if they rhymed we turned on our flashlight; if they didn't, we turned it off. In one class I let some of the readers take turns reading two words I had written on index cards.

One of our favorite events was going in the dark bathroom with me with just our flashlights on. We counted to 3 and shut off our flashlights to see how dark it was in the bathroom. Then we counted to 3 again and turned them back on. Some of the children were brave! We each got a chance to stand near the toilet and shine our flashlight on the wall to see how weak or strong the beam was. Then we all got to "flashwrite" our names on the ceiling and walls!

  More Ideas for Flashlight Day  
Here are some ideas I collected since our first one in 05-06.
In 06-07 we held it on Groundhog Day, Feb 2
so we could also talk about and have fun with shadows.
If you would like to share an idea to post on this webpage,
please send an EMail to Mrs. Jones.

Word Wall Game

"Flashlight, flashlight, oh so bright.
Shine on the word I want to learn by sight!"

Then you shine it on a word and the students read it.


Tie in Flashlight Day with Groundhog Day and talk about shadows and how to make them.


Sing The Shadow Song
Divide the class in half and form two parallel lines. The back line shines their flashlights on the front line so the front line's shadows appear on the wall. Everyone sings the song and the front line acts out the song. (front line sets down their flashlight) Then switch places and do the same thing.


Divide kids into groups of 4. Two shine their flashlights on the other 2 who try to make as many alphabet letters (or whatever) on the wall as they can with the help of their partner. Reinforce likeskills, too.


Read Guess Whose Shadow? by Stephen R. Swinburne
From Kirkus Reviews:
Swinburne sets out to teach young children about how shadows are created, describing night as a shadow on the earth, and giving children tangible reasons for why shadows vary in size, shape, and location. The latter half of the book invites readers to guess the origins of the shadows in vivid full-color photographs; subsequent pages provide the answers to the mysteries. A foreword contains information regarding the scientific reasons for shadows, which can be explained to small children, but it is the array of photographs that truly invites youngsters to take a closer look and analyze the world around them with an eye for the details. (Picture book/nonfiction. 3-5). -- Copyright 1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.


Read I Love My Shadow by Hans Wilhelm
Synopsis: A little dog has fun playing with his shadow at the beach.


I inherited some material squares and during "flashlight playtime" the children can experiment with shining their light through the different thicknesses.


I found some transparent color paddles in the basic colors at a retiring teacher's yard sale. The children can shine their light through each color then experiment with mixing the color paddles. Display a color mixing poster.

Color Mixing with Flashlights and Balloons


I saved a doc on making animal shadows on the wall.
Animal Shadows


An anonymous submission:

When I did Light and Vision for our school Science Day (classes signed up for sessions in different classes) and also for a science "tie in" to fairy tales--

Two flashlight activities:
1. Sit small group in circle with a mirror in the middle and bounce light to try to hit others in the circle (light travels in a straight line unless it is bent or reflected).
2. As part of the "persistence of vision" use the flashlight to show how a spot of light can be moved fast so our eyes and brain read it as a solid streak, therefore making an oval or solid.

Without a flashlight, waving your fingers back and forth see that you seem to have more than five fingers. This persistence effect has been useful perhaps in our survival to make sure we really notice and track something that is moving.

Other non-flashlight activities were "shrinking" someone who walked across the room and looking at printed pictures of optical illusions. The "broken pencil: in a glass of water because of bent/refracted light is a winner if you ever need it.


submitted by sara

Our science book has a lesson about what light can travel through. There is a graph to use to predict what items the kids think light will travel through and what it will not. Then it has you turn off the light and see if the light from the flashlight passes through items like: transparency film, tissue paper, construction paper, wax paper, aluminum foil, etc. I can't remember all the ones that you test, but i'm sure you get the idea!


submitted by Texas Teacher

Glue color mylar confetti pieces (comes in a bag from a card and party store) to a large paper plate. Have something white as the background (pillow case/poster board) and shine the flashlight at an angle to the plate. The confetti reflects the light and you see sparkle colors on the background.


Emma posted this shadow unit: http://www.peepandthebigwideworld.com/resources/pdf/peep-guide-shadows.pdf

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