Summer Learning Activity: Sun Printing
A creative project helps children understand the awe-inspiring effects of the August sun.
Printing With Solar Power
How It's Done:
- Using loops of tape on the reverse side, secure construction paper to a table in a sunny spot outdoors (or do it inside by a sunny window).
- Lay objects on the paper. Use more tape loops to secure lightweight items (such as the plastic forks shown).
- Leave the setup untouched for 4 to 5 hours, checking periodically to remove any blown grass or leaves. Try not to move the objects; by examining the paper, you'll be able to see when the print is sharp and finished.
Creating these prints, you're witnessing the power of ultraviolet (UV) rays -- the same rays of sunlight that can burn unprotected skin. When the light hits the exposed areas of the construction paper, the UV rays cause a chemical reaction in the paper's colored dye. This reaction breaks down the dye and diminishes its brightness.
Fun Stuff to Print:
- doll clothes
- kitchen tools
- letter magnets
- action figures
- nature finds
- school supplies
- shapes cut from craft foam or felt
Take It Further:
Use this technique to make a leaf journal. Collect various leaves in your area, make sun prints, and staple the sheets together. Write identifying captions.
Originally published in the August 2015 issue of FamilyFun magazine.