Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Rainbow Shadow Room At Home

March is most definitely blowing into Montana like a lion. The snow was just beginning to fall this morning, when I noticed a robin, shivering in our tree. It's my first for the season, and I was very excited to see it.

The ground is now completely covered with snow, and the trees are full of starlings, flickers, finches, and even more robins, waiting out the storm. D (age 9), and I were so busy rushing from window to window, binoculars and bird books in hand, that I totally forgot about the rainbow breakfast smoothies I had planned for today.

Instead, while the muffins were baking, I set the children up with a fallback project, using little finger lights to turn our bathroom into a rainbow shadow room, like you might see at a children's museum.

I found the lights on Amazon, for about 18 cents a piece, and they worked perfectly for making rainbow shadows - at least the ones that would turn on. You get what you pay for, and these little lights are not only cheap, as in inexpensive, they are also cheap, as in poorly made, so you need to pick up about twice as many as you think you'll need, if you want to try this project.

I placed them in the bathroom, because that's one room in our house without a window, that can be made dark at any time of day, and because the shower curtain made a perfect screen for our shadows, but any dark room with a smooth, white, wall would work.

It's really difficult to photograph colored shadows in a dark room, but let me assure you, the effect is stunning. Not only could we produce the whole rainbow of colors with the shadows, but we had a lot of fun rearranging the lights, and turning one, or more off at a time, to see how it would change the colors of the shadows.

Working with colored light and shadow is very different than combining pigments in paints. In fact, the results of removing or adding a color are often the opposite of what you might expect - it's very counter intuitive, and quite entertaining, especially if you happen to be stuck inside on a blustery, Montana morning in March.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Phyllis said...

I have never heard of these before...thanks for telling us about them. They look like lots of fun.

Debbie said...

I am with Phyllis, I've never heard of them before either. They sure sound like fun.

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

I am with everyone - never heard of this before, but experiments with these lights look very interesting.