Exploring the light table in preschool

I have several different light tables that I used in my classroom. One is a small one I bought from a school supply store and the others are light tables that I have made using this idea (only I am always changing out the lights and my approach to frosting the top to try and make  it better).  It doesn’t matter which light table I share with the kids, they seem to like it all the same…

The light table is a wonderful way to explore not only light but also colors and shapes and other concepts.  Since we have been having fun with turkeys, I added this colorful turkey game. To make the turkey feathers, I cut up colorful plastic from binder inserts…

Here are some other ideas we have recently used on our light table…

Geometric shapes on the light table

Wooden window blocks on the light table

Water beads on the (homemade) light table

My homemade light table is much larger.  The light isn’t quite the same as the store bought light but it still creates an interesting experience that the children like and I don’t worry about it getting a little water or paint on it…

This is the gel beads in cups of water before they expand – they create a pretty cool experience this way too.

And here they are again about 24 hours later – after sitting all night in the water…

This homemade light table is a large plastic tub with a clear lid. I covered the inside of the lid with frosted contact paper and added two florescent lights.  The inside of the tub is painted with a metallic paint to help reflect the light a little better.  I like it because it gives us a much larger working space…




By |2011-11-20T14:20:20+00:00November 20th, 2011|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Trisha November 20, 2011 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    Frosted contact paper? Did you frost it yourself? I’ve never seen it–I don’t think. Where did you get it? Does it work better than the frosted spray paint you have used? Sorry for all the questions! 🙂 Thanks.

  2. Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. November 20, 2011 at 6:00 pm - Reply

    It does work better than the frosted paint because my frosted paint keeps peeling of in spots. I got the frosted contact paper as is from Meijers . It was called Frosted:)

  3. Susan Case November 20, 2011 at 7:17 pm - Reply

    That looks so interesting and beautiful. I’ve never seen anything quite like that – you are very creative. What a fun way to learn!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. November 20, 2011 at 11:41 pm - Reply

      It is fun to explore in all kinds of ways with the light table:)

  4. Darlene November 30, 2011 at 10:24 am - Reply

    I just wanted to let you know that I’ve linked this page to my table light blog entry. 🙂

  5. Peggy Lawrence August 20, 2018 at 7:20 pm - Reply

    When using a plastic container on top of the light table to hold sand, what kind of a container is it? Special for the light table or clear plastic shoebox/bin?

    • Deborah Stewart August 20, 2018 at 7:35 pm - Reply

      It’s a clear plastic tray from the Dollar Tree!

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