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Fun Family-Friendly Experiments with Light

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Inspired by our current exhibition Another Minimalism – Art after California Light and Space, we’ve pulled together a series of fun family-friendly experiments with light for you to enjoy:

1. After Image

After looking at something bright, such as a lamp or a camera flash, you may continue to see an image of that object when you look away. This lingering visual impression is called an afterimage. Find out more at www.exploratorium.edu/snacks/afterimage

2. Homemade Light Table

Light tables like this are great for preschoolers, as they inspire them with sorting and designing compositions. Light Tables are wonderful for exploring the play of light, shadow, colour, and transparency. Their unique nature can add a magical element to child’s play and encourage curiosity, exploration, and problem-solving. Find out more at tinkerlab.com/homemade-easy-low-cost-light-table/

3. How to Make a Kaleidoscope

Ever looked through a kaleidoscope? It’s beautiful, isn’t it? The sunlight bounces off the coloured beads and glass and is reflected in the mirrors to create beautiful patterns which you can see when you look inside. If you’d like to make your own kaleidoscope, there are two options – one easy, one involving a little more skill. Find out more at www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Kaleidoscope

4. Make a Lantern

A quick, easy and low cost way of making beautiful lanterns. Find out more at picklebums.com/easy-art-for-kids-make-a-lantern/

5. Bird in a Cage

Stare at one colour—but see another! Find out more at www.exploratorium.edu/snacks/bird-in-cage

6. Coloured Shadows

Not all shadows are black! Find out more at www.exploratorium.edu/snacks/colored-shadows

7. Disco Discovery Bottles

Experiment with light diffusion with your very own Disco Discovery Bottles. Find out more at babbledabbledo.com/disco-discoverybottles/

8. Tracing the Light

Trace the light (or shadows) and create your own abstract drawings. Find out more at artfulparent.com/2014/03/shadow-tracing-art-kids.html

9. Light Painting

Light Painting Photography is the Art Form of using handheld lights to paint and/or draw in a scene while the shutter of a camera is left open during a long exposure photograph. By shooting in a dark location and using photographic technique of LONG exposure photography the flashes, streaks, colours, textures, and trails of light created by our light painting tools and modifiers can be captured in your photograph without the use of any post production. Find out more at lightpaintingbrushes.com/pages/light-painting-tutorials

10. Exploring Prisms

Prisms can provide such a fun, hands-on way for kids to observe and hypothesize about light. Here are some fun ways to use prisms: buggyandbuddy.com/rainbow-science-for-kids-exploring-prisms/

Have your own light experiments to share? Post them below in the comments section.

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