Properties of Light: Lesson for Kids

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: How Does Light Travel? - Lesson for Kids

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:03 What Is Light?
  • 1:16 Reflection
  • 1:46 Absorption
  • 2:28 Transmission
  • 2:55 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: April DeBord

April has taught Spanish and English as a Second Language and she has her Ed. S. in Foreign Language Education.

In this lesson, you'll learn how light is created. You'll also learn about the different properties of light by exploring how it behaves with objects in different ways: by reflecting, absorbing, or transmitting.

What Is Light?

Annie's family was having a bonfire last weekend. It was getting dark outside, so she stayed near the bonfire. But that made her curious: How do bonfires create light much like the Sun does? So, Annie asked her dad.

He explained that, like the bonfire, the sun burns gasses to emit (or give off) light. However, the sun burns different types of gasses, which explains why the sun gives off a different color of light than the bonfire.

While they use different types of gasses, there is one main reason that both emit light: the burning of gasses causes a chemical reaction that creates electromagnetic energy, which is a type of energy that takes the form of magnetic and electrical waves. In physics, waves are the invisible vibrations that affect objects and even space to create light, color and more. The electromagnetic energy created from the burning gasses is what makes light.

But there's much more to be learned about light. In fact, light has different properties - which means it behaves in different ways - depending on the type of object that it hits. It can be reflected, refracted, absorbed or transmitted. Let's learn about these properties below.


After the bonfire, Annie's dad tucked her in bed. She became curious and asked, 'Why can't I see my toys, dolls and furniture when the lights are off?' Her dad explained that, in order to see an object, it must reflect light. Reflection is when light bounces off of an opaque object. An opaque object is an object that you can't see though, like your dolls and toys. The light travels from the light bulb to the objects in your room, bouncing off so that the objects are visible to your eyes.


Sometimes, not all of the light is reflected by an object. Some of it is absorbed. Absorption is when the object soaks up some of the light waves.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account