Copyright: frimerke / 123RF Stock Photo
Did you love to make shadow puppets when you were a kid? Kids today are still excited when they get to turn out the lights, turn on a flashlight and create some shadows. Here's a fun activity that uses wooden blocks to make a silhouette of a city skyline. This project creates the most famous, the New York City skyline from just a few simple wooden blocks.Using varied sizes of wooden building blocks, kids will learn to follow a pattern, compare sizes and shapes and get to create cool shadows. Try it today. A great inside activity for these cold winter months.
For this project we used Back To Blocks "The Big Block Bucket". This set has lots of tall blocks to make these skyscrapers. But you can use any blocks that are varied in size. We also used an additional(4) extra 2" small blocks and (3)4" column blocks You'll need about 4 different sizes of blocks of increasing lengths to create this skyline.
Here's the blocks we used for this project-
Small Basic Blocks-(5)2",(8)4",(4)6",(3)8",(4)10"
Large Basic Blocks-(4)2", (3)4", (5)6", (3)8", (4)10"
SETTING UP THIS BLOCK BUILDING SHADOW PROJECT
1-Start with a table of flat surface that is in a room where you can make it dark. This project won't work on carpet. It is best to have your light source a little below your project, so a table is better than the floor.
2-Build your project so it is several inches from a wall or other surface so the blocks can cast the shadow.
3-Get a good strong source of light, a flashlight, lamp etc. If you are using a lamp make sure mom and dad know and be careful not to have hot lights near children.
4-Get a picture of the city skyline. You can copy the version in this blog or find one easily on the internet.. Place the picture near the child so they can refer to it and copy the pattern they see in the skyline.
BACK TO BLOCKS VERSION OF THE NEW YORK CITY SKYLINE MADE FROM BUILDING BLOCKS
This is the order or the blocks we used from left to right to make the skyline shown above. You can just look at your city skyline picture or if you prefer follow our directions below.
It's good practice to let kids build it from the picture. They will have to figure out the size difference by comparing the different heights of the buildings. This is the most educational way to build this project. But if you prefer specific directions are listed below.
REMEMBER WE ARE NOT TRYING TO CREATE THE DETAIL OF THE BUILDINGS BUT ONLY THE SHAPE
OF THE SKYLINE THAT WILL CAST A SHADOW SILHOUETTE.
STAND THE FOLLOWING BLOCKS TOGETHER FROM LEFT TO RIGHT-all blocks are standing on end unless otherwise noted. Blocks stacked on top are noted in parentheses. This design was about 42" wide so plan on a wide enough space.
10" Small block -10" Large block-6" Small block-4" Small block-2" Small block-4" Small Block-10" Large block
10" Large block-(on top of these (2)10" large blocks place a 2" large piece laying on it's long side, then on top of that
a 2" large block standing on end, then a 4" column)
4" Small block-2" Large block-4" Large block-6" Small block-8" Small block-10" Large block-10"Small block-(on top of the 10" large and 10" small piece add a 2" small block so it lays with the shortest side facing front)
4" Large block-6" Large block (on top place a 2" Large block so the short side is to the front)
6" Large block-4" Small block-2" Small block-4" Small block-6" Large block-4" Small block-6" Small block-8" Large block-2" Small block-4" Small block-10" Large block-10" Small block ( on top of these (2) 10" blocks add a 2" small laying flat and a 4" column)
4" Small block-6" Small block-8" Large block-6" Large block-4" Large block-6" Large block-8" Small block-10" Small block ( with 4" column on top)
8" Small block
NOW FOR THE FUN PART- CREATING THE SHADOW SILHOUETTE
Once your skyline is built, place your light source so it is a little below your project. Then the shadows will be bigger than your wooden blocks and create a great silhouette. Now turn out the lights and light it up!
If you liked this project look for more city skyline silhouettes in the future from Back To Blocks.
Try your own patterns. There are lots of images of skylines from all over the world. Find your favorites and create!
Find lots of varied projects for kids of all ages at our Ideas For Projects page. Full of all kinds of creative ideas to make from wooden blocks.
For even more ideas to build subscribe to our free Subscribe at BACK TO BLOCKS NEWSLETTER. We will send you ideas 1-2 times per month along with discounts, specials and sales information. A great way to keep adding fresh ideas to your building fun!
Whether you live in a big city or a farm in the country, wooden blocks are a great creative toy for kids!