Coloured Shadow & Light STEM Experiment

Sandra Beale, Founder of Toddler and Early Years STEAM
18th June 2024

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About the Author

Sandra Beale has a background in psychology, she has worked in Advertising as a copywriter and has also made very short experimental films some of which have won awards and nominations.

Sandra is a mum of three and started Toddler and Early Years STEAM sessions when her middle son was 9 months old. He’s 9 years old now!

What started as entertainment solely for her baby soon grew after visiting friends were amazed at a 9-month-old doing science experiments and wanted their children to participate in the sessions.

Since then, the sessions have grown and have appeared several times on the BBC, BBC Tiny Happy People, BBC Radio, BBC Breakfast, Early Years TV, local and national newspapers and magazines and were nominated for a STEM Initiative of the Year Award at the Cambridge Science and Technology Awards in May 2023.

Sandra has also been participating in the BBC’s STEM season for the last 3 years with a workshop on her Toddler and Early Years STEAM sessions. She is now a BBC STEM Freelancer.

She has also done Toddler and Early Years STEM sessions at the Cambridge Science Centre in 2021 and at Saffron Walden Museum in 2020 as well as with local primary schools and nurseries and at a local French Restaurant in Saffron Walden.

Sandra’s Toddler and Early Years STEM have been raising funds for BBC Children in Need since 2020.

The sessions are held every Monday morning at Sandra’s home at 9:30am for an hour throughout the year. An example of a typical Monday morning session is a small group of four or five young children aged between 12 months and 4 years along with their mums around her dining table exploring various science concepts in a fun and playful environment.

The sessions are run with a bigger group and more varied ages during half term and holidays. There are various themed sessions also depending on the time of year.

The local MP for Saffron Walden Kemi Badenoch attended one of Sandra’s themed summer sessions in September 2023 and enjoyed participating in the 5 experiments.

Sandra has also been doing several Toddler and Early Years STEM workshops with various organisations and Early Years Practitioners in the UK and the US.

An Experiment to Try

I thought a fun experiment that you could try over the summer term and even in the summer holidays could be a Coloured Shadow and Light experiment. Its great fun and the children at my sessions love it!

Ask your preschoolers or Key Stage 1 children to gather around. They could either sit around the table or stand. I always find being flexible with seating arrangements makes for more enjoyable experiences for Children and their Care Givers.

Once they are settled you could maybe start by discussing shadows, ask them if they have made hand shadows against a wall with a torch? You could also explain that shadows are created when light falls on a solid object. Shadows can be lengthened or shorted by the direction of the light. If its sunny day you could take the children outside and ask them if they can spot their shadows on the ground.

Then explain that you are going to show them how to make coloured shadows.

For this experiment you will need translucent objects, such as coloured cellophane paper or magnetic tiles and a torch or sunlight.

Hold or different coloured cellophane squares against a light background and shine a torch behind it, the shadows that are created will be in colour.

If it’s a sunny day, ask the children to stack or build with magnetic tiles on a windowsill and observe the colours on the floor. You could give the children some paper and paints and they could paint the colours that fall on the paper.

To book a session please click on the link  Toddler and Early Years STEM | Pebble

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