Have you seen kids play with light tables in classrooms, museums, or art centers?
There’s just something about the way light shines through different objects – or doesn’t – that’s fascinating to little ones. I hadn’t really thought about how great light play was, or how much kids love it, until I started seeing all sorts of light table sensory play ideas on Pinterest.
If you search Amazon.com or anywhere else on the web for light tables, you’ll see that they’re a bit cost-prohibitive for a budget-wise homeschool mom. That little one pictured above runs over $350 on Amazon.com. Table-top models sell for over $175.
Last week I made a fun, easy, and effective substitute for under $20:
Do you want to try it yourself? You’ll need:
- A plastic storage box (this is the one I bought for $5.99)
- A strand or two of white mini Christmas lights (these are the ones I bought – I used two, so I spent $10, but if you raid your Christmas light stash, your light box will cost even less!)
- A drill with a bit the width of the plug end of your lights
- Duct tape
That’s it! Super cheap… Now, let’s build…
First, drill a hole near the lid on one of the short sides:
Next, put your lights inside. Feed the plug through the hole and tape it securely from the inside:
Finally, put the lid on and flip it over. Plug it in and play…
… with water beads…
… or jewels, tulle, and flowers…
… or you could invite the dolls for a light-up picnic…
… or you can play with light and shadows using animal figures.
The possibilities are endless, and I’m looking forward to trying new things out as I find them. It’s been really fun to have the kids come down to the school and play area in the morning to an “invitation” set up on the table. I try to light it up with a handful of objects on it, and let them play. I’m amazed to see their creativity come out as they play with this simple toy.
I’d love to hear from you if you try this yourself – or if you already have a light table and use it regularly. What have you “invited” your kids to explore with light? I’m looking for more invitations to offer… so share!