My kids have been quietly playing for over an hour in the next room. Every now and then I peek into the room, but every time I see the same thing.
Two bodies. Carefully building. Quiet conversation.
Concentration on their faces that are being lit up by the light table.
We gave our kids a light table when they turned 2 and four years later is it one of the few things they still consistently enjoy.
My kids bicker like normal siblings, but when you click on the light table with some engaging materials it is like magic.
Below are some of our favorite ways to play with the light table. The ways I first introduced it’s possibilities to them when they were toddlers.
Hopefully you can also discover the same magic.
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Why a Light Table?
We don’t buy a lot of toys.
Right now in particular we live in a 900 sq foot apartment so if it’s coming home with us then it needs to be awesome.
When we moved from our house in Mississippi we downsized A LOT but one of the things that made yet another move was our light table. Why?
There are two things I look for with toys.
- Will this last?Not just will it withstand play and moving, but is it something they will play with for more than a week. I want toys that will grow with them for at least a while.A light table captures the attention and interest of babies, but it also delights my first graders. It never fails to be a hit with any age when we have kids over for a play date.
- Is it open ended?Does it have multiple ways we can use it? Does it encourage curiosity and problem solving?The answer to all of these for the light table is absolutely.As you’ll see below the light table, even for the under 3 crowd, can be used for art, exploration, and building.
A light table is a compelling surface that makes you look at ordinary things in a different way. It is engaging, thought provoking, and inspires creativity.
Does everyone need one? No.
Would everyone benefit? Yes.
Where do you get a Light Table?
I realize they aren’t bounding off the shelves at every toy store, so this is a fair question.
We built our own. My husband likes to build things and we have definitely reaped the benefits.
If you’re not feeling like spending hours in a tool shed is your idea of fun, then there are other options.
There are a variety of light tables on Amazon that can appear on your doorstep in a few days. I think for home, I like this one the best.
This is a great source for kids play furniture and materials. They also have several sizes of light table, as well as this Light Box if you’re concerned about space.
Discount School Supply
I ordered materials from DSS all the time when I worked at a child care center. It is great for bulk art materials, but they also have a huge collection of light tables and materials.
Our Favorite Light Table Activity Ideas
We had light tables in our infant and toddler classrooms at the centers I worked at before kids. Between those experiences and the ones with my own kids, I have tried a variety of light table activities with young kids.
These are the best.
Light Table + Sensory Bags
Sensory bags are always good squishy fun, but they are the absolute best on a light table. Read More.
Light Table + Sensory Bottles
Sensory bottles can be found in pretty much every infant and toddler play space across the country, but have you ever used them on a light table? Read more.
Magna-tiles + Light
Two of our favorite things. They are both awesome, but together is how we love them the most. Read more.
Coloring on Light
Nothing reinvigorates a box of crayons and piece of paper like a light table. Read more.
Painting on Light
Mastered coloring? Ready for more? Painting on a light table is messy, but a completely different painting experience for kids. Read more.
more a-z play at home ideas
Lego City from Teach Me Mommy
How to Set Up a Lego Ring Toss from The Gingerbread House
Little Excavator Inspired Big & Little Story Time from My Storytime Corner
Loose Parts and Natural Materials for Toddlers from Bambini Travel