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If you are looking for a classic adventure tale to share with your children, one filled with mischief, pirates, fairies, and more, look no further than the story of Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie.
Today we are all familiar with the antics of Peter Pan, the boy who would never grow up, and his adventures in Neverland with the Darling children, Captain Hook, and Tinker Bell, but did you know this story did not begin as a book? Peter Pan first appeared in a stage play in 1904. It wasn’t until several years later that it was adapted and published as a novel.
Peter Pan’s Shadow
Very early in the story, Peter Pan visits the Darling house and surprises Mrs. Darling and Nana. The encounter does not end very well for Peter Pan. He is forced to make a quick exit out of the window and in the process leaves something very important behind:
“She returned to the nursery, and found Nana with something in her mouth, which proved to be the boy’s shadow. As he leapt at the window Nana had closed it quickly, too late to catch him, but his shadow had not had time to get out; slam went the window and snapped it off.”
Peter Pan eventually returns to the Darling house to find his lost shadow. With the help of Tinker Bell and Wendy he not only finds, but also manages to reattach, his shadow.
Hands-on Shadow Fun
There are many hands-on activities your family can do to learn more about shadows. Here are a few of our favorites:
Shadow Puppet Animals
Making shadow puppet animals is quite easy and requires just a few supplies:
- Light source
- Your hands
Here is a short video clip to show you how to make the shadow shapes of a dog, swan and rabbit. I wonder what the Darling’s dog Nana would think of this idea!
Shadow Pictures (Silhouette)
Although your child’s shadow cannot be “snapped” of and hidden in a drawer like Peter Pan’s, you can create a copy of your child’s shadow in the form of a picture.
- Paper (2 pieces in contrasting colors such as black and white paper)
Begin by tapping a large piece of paper to the wall.
Your child should sit or stand sideways next to the paper.
Turn out the lights in the room and then shine the flashlight onto your child so their profile shows as a shadow on the paper.
Trace the shadow with the pencil.
Following the lines you traces on the paper, cut out the profile.
Glue the cut-out profile on a piece of contrasting paper.
Although your children will eventually grow up, you will have this very simple but special silhouette to remind you of their childhood.