FlashlightFlashlights are natural kids’ toys. I’ve never known a child not to be fascinated with the power of shining a spot on the wall. You can buy any number of character-branded ones, but I’ve found that plain but colorful 6″ AA plastic lights are just as attractive to kids. Here are a few activity ideas:

  • Go camping—even if it’s just under a sheet-covered kitchen table.
  • Dance. My son’s music teacher has a basket of lights she hands out during the soft songs. The children love shining them on the walls of the darkened room in time to the music.
  • Make shadows. Lay the flashlight on a table, pointed at a blank wall. Use this free copy of a charming 19th-century book, Hand Shadows to be Thrown upon a Wall, to guide you (though the classic two-fingered “bunny ears” may be enough to amuse most toddlers).
  • Soothe fears. Sometimes the comfort of a small light is enough to scare away ghosts.
  • Cover the end of the flashlight with red cellophane or an uninflated red balloon to go stargazing. The red light won’t ruin your night vision.
  • Layer different colored balloons over the flashlight end to teach your child about color mixing.
  • For older kids in groups, try any one of the flashlight games from this English scout site.

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