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Light Table Activities for Children
Light Table Blocks
Exploring Light and Pattern with Children
A light table creates a multi-sensory space for your children to learn and explore. One of our favorite activities is to turn off the lights and switch on the light table.
The light emanating from under the surface attracts the children's attention while highlighting a different perspective on many thin and transparent objects. Watch your children's eyes sparkle as you place transparent blocks on the surface. See the light shine through the blocks and watch your children's imaginations ignite.
Today we will be exploring the multi-sensory activities that your children can experience using a light table. We will be looking at transparent blocks, thinly sliced foods, and tracing to name just a few fun, educational activities you can do using a light table.
Come switch off the lights and switch on the light table...
Light Table Fruit Face - Looking Through Food
Orange Slices on the Light Table
Slice an orange very, very thin and place it on your light table. You will be able to look right through the slices. Notice the membranes, the texture and the parts or the orange that you can't see though. Use a zester to cut off slices of the peel. Arrange slices on the light table to create a fruit face.
What other images could you create using the slices you have?
If your light table heats up you will start to notice the sweet smell of the orange. The juice will start to flow out and your fingers will get sticky. Pick up a slice of orange and taste the sweet juice. Multi-sensory activities like this one using a light table will delight the imagination of your children.
NOTE: You will want to clean the surface promptly with a soft damp cloth.
Blocks for the Light Table
Light Table Blocks - Discover color combinations with transparent blocks
These transparent blocks allow light to shine through inviting children to explore color combinations. What happens when you place a blue block on top of a yellow block? Will it turn green? Why?
When introducing these blocks, be sure to teach the children how to take them out and put them away. Then teach them how to build and create patterns with the blocks on the light table. Explain the difference between having fun in the classroom and horsing around.
Take out the light table blocks carefully and always try to place them carefully when putting them away. Plexiglas scratches easily so show the children how to carefully place the blocks on the table.
Light Table for Young Children
Learning Letters and Letter Sounds
Toddlers and young children love to play on a light table. One fun activity is to offer them a bowl of letters to pour out onto a light table. You will be surprised at how quickly this kids can learn their letters and letter sounds, all the while just playing on the light table.
When I was a child we didn't have copiers so in order to make a copy we could either draw it freehand or we could hold it up to the window to trace it. The window became a light table. It was always fun to trace using the window but my arms would get tired and the pen's ink would dry out from the angle. I longed for a light table.
Do you have a light table?
Light Table Gems - Math Patterns, Cars or Trains
Glass Bead Patterns in the Light
Use Floral Marbles to create patterns on your light table. The light shines though the floral marbles and delights children while they create math patterns. Math is ultimately the way that we describe patterns noticed in nature. The light table entices children to play with these patterns as they begin to develop number sense.
Place a handful of these glass beads on the surface and have fun creating patterns. Start with one in the middle and place contrasting ones around the center to form flowers.
Make a long line to form roads or railroad tracks. Choose your favorite color to be the train or car to run along it.
For children learning to add and subtract, choose, say, 5 gems and see how many combinations they can make using just those five marbles. 0+5=5, 1+4=5, etc.
Or how about creating an ABAB pattern across the bottom like the little boy in the picture. Some children like continuing the pattern all the way across the bottom or even all the way around the table.
Glowing Gems on the Light Table - Creating patterns using a Light Table
Floral Marbles are flat on the bottom so that they don't roll off the table. They are also translucent allowing light to pass through. Children love making shapes, pathways and patterns with floral marbles on the light table.
Sort the colors to make ponds, fields and forests. Multi-shades of blues and greens may look like a frog pond. Darker greens without the blues look like fields and a mixture of browns, golds and greens may look like a forest.
Building Blocks - Magnetic Building Blocks
Children love to build and put shapes together. This building block set is unique because it uses magnets to connect the pieces. In addition to the magnets, each piece is made of a plastic in colorful tints that allows light to shine though.
When I first saw these blocks they were placed on a windowsill for sunlight to shine through. That was when I saw the possibility for using on the light table. Oh, what fun the children had creating buildings there.
They created buildings and then turned it into a village with roads made of floral marbles and used see through blocks for cars and trucks.
Seeing through Animals - X-Rays on the Light Table!
These delightful and scientifically accurate images depict animals on one side with their bone structure on the other. Children choose an animal, lay it on the light table and are able to see the bone structure through the image. This shows how the bones line up with the outside appearance of the animal. Of course you could always just turn the card over to see the skeleton but children can learn so much more by looking at them with the use of the light table.
One of the things that surprised me most when I first looked a skeletons was how much smaller the bones structure was in comparison to the outside of an animal including all its fur.