Create Shade for Your Pet

Child stacks blocks to shade a stuffed animal from lamp.

Imagine a favorite stuffed animal “pet” is getting too hot in the sunlight. How can you block light to make shade for your stuffed animal?

10–15 minutes


Get Ready

Materials you will need:

  • Stuffed animal (or another small object)
  • Lamp with an LED light bulb
  • Materials to make shade (such as heavy sheets of paper, small boxes or blocks to stack, books to stand up, and so on)
  • Optional: tape for connecting materials

Things to do before the activity:

  • Gather all your materials and place them in the area where you will be making the shade structure.

A character with a speech bubble and bat with a thought bubble.

Shadows can be a cool place to rest on a hot day.

Let’s make some shade for our pet.


Step 1.

Imagine playing outside on a hot, sunny day. (You also can do this activity outdoors on a sunny day!) Close your eyes and describe what it feels like being outside in the hot sun. Then describe what it feels like to move into the cool shade.

Step 2.

Shine a light on your stuffed animal “pet.” Pretend the lamp is the sun and the stuffed animal is your pet. Your pet has been in the hot sun for too long. It needs to cool down in the shade.

Step 3.

Brainstorm ideas on how to create a shadow big enough to shade your pet. Talk about how you create a shadow. Look at the materials you have available and brainstorm how you can use the materials to build the shade structure. Write down your ideas. Think about:

  • Which materials will block light the best
  • How you will keep the structure from falling over
  • Some materials that are better for building than others

Step 4.

Plan the design together. Use your brainstorming ideas. Draw a sketch together or write down your ideas.

  • Figure out how you will position the structure so it casts a shadow that will create shade for all of your pet.

Step 5.

Build the shade structure. Follow your sketch or your ideas as you build your shade structure design together.

  • Notice that the material you place between the light and the animal is blocking the light from reaching your pet.

Step 6.

Try it out! Test your design to see if it provides enough shade to cover the whole animal.

  • Does it solve the pet’s problem?
  • Does your design create shade that covers the whole animal?

Step 7.

Improve your design. If your structure does not work, change one thing at a time. Test your new design. Continue to improve your design until you have a solution that works.

  • Move the structure closer to the light to make the shadow bigger. Is all of your pet in the shade now?
  • Will a different material block more light and create more shade?


Look at your design together. Describe how you made the shade structure.

  • How does it create shade for your stuffed animal pet?
  • What material blocks the light best?
  • Point out something that did not work on your design. How did you fix it?