Flashlight Fun: 3 Creative Activities to Fascinate Your Kids
Are you looking for some fun activities to bring out the creative side of your kids?
If so, keep reading to discover three fun indoor/outdoor flashlight activities that go far beyond finding your way through the dark.
There’s something magical about flashlights. Kids find them fascinating.
Maybe it’s the sense of control or safety that comes from something so small it fits in your pocket. Maybe it’s the ability to create a spotlight in the darkness just for you.
I’ve always loved flashlights.
Growing up, my next-door neighbor was a battery salesman. He would come home from business trips and the kids in the neighborhood would revel in the spoils. He would give us batteries.
Every so often, he would toss us flashlights with his company logo emblazoned on the handle.
With these flashlights we explored the woods at the bottom of the hill, told scary stories under blankets and found our way home when our baseball games lasted after dark.
Allow me to shine the fine halogen beam on three new ideas to fascinate your children.
#1: Create Flashlight Fairy Tales
I have connected with each of our four children by putting them to bed at night. When I’m not traveling, I get the privilege of hugging, kissing and praying with our kids before the lights go out.
When our oldest, Elisa, was little, we played around with a flashlight one night. I clicked the button and shined it on one of her stuffed animals. Next, I talked in a silly voice.
Then, I clicked the light off, pointed the light to where I thought another stuffed animal might be, and clicked it on again. Another silly voice. Elisa loved it.
After a few lines back and forth between animals, she grabbed the flashlight from me, animated another animal and created a silly voice adding another facet to the story.
In the video above, my youngest daughter, Meileah, and I tell a flashlight fairy tale. True confession: we had never done this before. (I know… slacker Dad.) Now she wants us to tell another one.
You can tell a flashlight fairy tale next time you tuck your kids in.
The story doesn’t have to make sense.
This is a time for you to watch your child’s mind at work and hear his or her heart. I encourage you to spend more time looking at your child’s face than looking where the flashlight shines.
#2: Shine Some Morse Code, Kid Style
Long before we texted LOL on smartphones, Samuel Morse did the world a favor creating a way to communicate with flashing lights or beeping tones. It was (and is) so much more than SOS.
Now, 256-bit encrypted telecommunications bounce off geosynchronous satellites, but during World War II, Morse code was the pinnacle of communication and essential to our soldiers and our allies.
Morse code is also a fun way to communicate with your children using flashlights.
Most flashlights, even the cheapest ones, are equipped with a button that can help you send dots and dashes.
Some lights have a push-button that allows you to tap the button without turning the light on. Others have a three part switch—off, Morse, on. Play around with your flashlights to learn their quirks.
In movies and newsreel footage, we see the telegrapher click his machine faster than a coffee-drinking teenager can text with a smartphone. We see the signalmen on boats flash the lights so fast that we worry what we will miss if we blink.
To connect with your kids, slow down. Speed is not the issue. I recommend that you create a few codes just for your family to learn and use.
No flashlight? How about using your smartphone?
Here’s an iPhone app that does Morse code
And if you want to cheat, there’s this iPhone app
Do you use special phrases in your home? How could you render them in Morse code?
Do you have a child who loves to latch onto new ideas? If so, make sure you keep pace with his or her Morse code aptitude. Let Kid Kodes be a way to strengthen and deepen your relationship, not a dividing point.
#3: Make Silhouette Stories
It can be so much fun to play with light. The closer an object—or a child—is to a light source, the smaller the silhouette projected on a wall or screen. As the object moves away from the light, the object grows larger in silhouette.
Tell stories using silhouettes. They’ll come alive and seem bigger than life.
I’ll never forget a dance recital where one of our daughters and her class danced fully in silhouette.
Stagehands lowered a screen in place at the front of the stage then illuminated the screen from the back of the stage. The dancers entered and formed lines. As one line moved upstage and another downstage, the dancers changed size on the screen.
The effect was powerful and mesmerizing. Turns and kicks were magnified. Peels were dramatic. Colors changes only enhanced the story told.
Silhouette dance troupe from America’s Got Talent 2012 “What a Wonderful World”
Silhouette dancing is beautiful. Silhouette play acting is fun for everyone.
Make a silhouette screen for your kids. Even better, add a third dimension to the fun when you create a fort of bedspreads and pillows behind your screen.
Your kids will take turns playing behind the screen and watching the size-changing action in front of the screen. You will marvel at how the imaginations of your children come alive.
Some Final Thoughts…
Flashlights can add fun and adventure to your family togetherness. They can also be tools for building deeper relationships.
Imagine a day in the not-too-distant future when your child will ask you to drop her off a few blocks from her destination to not mess up her arrival. You flash your headlights • • •• — • — • — —. She smiles, knowing that you love her and protected her coolness at the same time.
What do you think? How have you used flashlights in your home? What Kid Kodes have you created? Please share your observations in the comments section below. I’d love to see how you light up your family, so please post a picture, too.
Images from iStockPhoto.
W. Mark Whitlock is a best-selling author and consultant who helps others apply creativity to everyday life. Mark and his wife live with their four children in Franklin, Tennessee. Other posts by W. Mark Whitlock »