As a kid I remember walking around the neighborhood with my family after dinner, the summer sun setting behind us and my long legged shadow stretched out in front. Lifting our knees out wide and our arms up high, my siblings and I would make our shadows dance and touch the sides of houses and nearby trees. From a crouch I’d make my shadow small, and then jump up to watch it grow long and wild. I would duck and weave as my brother used his long shadow finger to poke my shadow head. Laughing and playing, we walked along with our loyal shadows by our sides.
Children are naturally drawn to shadows and often amused by a simple question, “Can your shadow do this…?” Enchantment with shadows has broad applications for learning. Shadows can teach us about time, space, and seasons, they can become puppets with elaborate stories, and so much more. In this shadow drawing activity, you can study plants or objects through their shadows and create beautiful art.
Shadow Race by Shel Silverstein
Mai grew up in southwestern CT, where she spent her days clamoring across barnacled boulders lining Long Island Sound, and capturing crickets to feed to her leopard frogs. She studied acting at Emerson College and graduated from Hampshire College with a self-designed B.A. in ecosystem mimicry agriculture and community circus theater. Alisha Mai has run nature-immersion programming since 2008, with Vermont Wilderness School, the Institute for Natural Learning, Wolftree Programs, White Pine Programs, and most recently, Wild Earth. Mai enjoys working with girls and teens, and incorporating physical play into her programs. She draws upon her background in theater and circus to create zany and magical experiences in nature. Alisha Mai is certified in Wildlife Track and Sign (Level II) through CyberTracker, and is a Wilderness First Responder. She teaches vinyasa yoga and aerial silks, and studies at Circus Warehouse in Queens. More about Alisha Mai's work.