A bit of Christmas Sparkle

Today we are going to look at shiny and matte surfaces and how we can tell the difference.

Basically shiny surfaces reflect light well and matte surfaces don’t.

For this you will need:

A flashlight

Shiny items for example:

  • tinsel
  • foil wrapping paper
  • ornaments
  • metallic ribbon
  • bells
  • metallic Christmas cards
  • glittery items.

Dull items for example:

  • felt Christmas stocking
  • flat toned wrapping paper
  • miniature Christmas wreath
  • candle
  • ornaments made of fabric
  • ribbon


Mix the objects up on a tray and create two piles…shiny and Dull. Shine your flashlight onto each of the objects and see how well it reflects light (the light bouncing off) to see which is shiny and which is dull. It is really a very simple pre-school sorting activity, but the importance of shiny and matt surface links into thermal radiation and absorption of heat later on which we will look at later.


For more Christmas ideas check out our 10 Christmas Science activities post.

Author: Emma Vanstone

Science Sparks, is a site dedicated to making Science fun for kids. I’d love you to follow me on my Google Profile+.

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  1. This is a great, simple lesson for preschoolers! Thanks for the idea.

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    • Glad you like. s

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  1. Science for kids - Christmas | Science Sparks - [...] the sparkly and matte surfaces of your Christmas [...]
  2. Christmas activities for kids - [...] could do a simple shiny/dull investigation with your Christmas [...]
  3. A Christmas science and vocabulary lesson » Gift of Curiosity - [...] The idea for this activity focused on the concepts shiny and dull came straight from a post at Science …

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