Everyday light table play

There are so many ways to explore light in the classroom with your students

I have a small light table that is always out and available for play in my classroom.  I use this light table for simple activities and try to keep something out and available for light table play every single day…

One of the drawbacks to having wonderful natural light in my preschool classroom is that the light and colors on the light table aren’t nearly as brilliant during the day as it is when I play at home with the light table at night. But the light is still effective and to keep it interesting, we try using the light table in a variety of ways…

Light Table Inspiration

Many of the photos I am sharing on this post today come from an entire year of preschool light table activities. We are always exploring so many different light table activities, that I haven’t even had time to write about most of them. So I thought I would at least share with you different ways we use the light table in our classroom…

Building Pre-Writing Skills

We use the light table salt box to explore the writing and drawing process….

Number and Letter Recognition

We use the light table to promote number and letter recognition….

We use the water beads on the light table to explore magnification and prism affects on the newspaper letters…

Building Fine Motor Skills

We hunt and pick up small objects through holes on the light table for a little fine motor play…

We extend the books we read like the book “Stars” by Mary Lyn Rae

Art Exploration with Light

We use the light table to explore art and to take a closer look at our artwork once we are finished…

Exploring Science Concepts

We explore colors, color mixing, and science on the light table…

We explored physics and centrifugal force with marbles in a petri dish – this was pretty cool…

We stacked the dishes up in many different ways and made the marbles go round and round by moving the dishes in a circular motion…

It was hard to take a photo of the marbles moving…

Building Literacy

We explore drawing and story telling with these laminated story strips for the light table…

The children lay the laminated strips across the light table to make the story move…

Having Fun with Light!

We play games on the light table…

We explore as many different materials on the light table that we can come up with…

Sensory Exploration

We explore water beads on our DIY light table when we need a large light table surface…

The Possibilities are Endless

And on some days the children come up with their own unique plan for play on the light table…

You can see more ways we explore the light table here on my previous light table post!

Available on Amazon

By |2019-01-01T19:27:07+00:00February 13th, 2012|

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. Fouzia February 13, 2012 at 12:57 pm - Reply

    Where did you get the alphabets from?

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. February 13, 2012 at 1:46 pm - Reply

      Hi Fousia,
      I made the letters and numbers using colored glue and cookie cutters:) Many of them broke when I went to take them out of the cookie cutters – so I am still learning how best to do this then will blog on it!


      • Fouzia February 14, 2012 at 2:25 am

        OMG!! that is such an amazing idea! thanks!!

      • Ana Carol Thomé February 14, 2012 at 5:09 am

        Amazing! Love this idea!

      • Linda March 17, 2012 at 10:53 am

        I love this idea! I tried it myself, but the glue didn’t seem to dry. I’m anxious to try it again when you can give us more pointers 🙂

        Another letter idea: I bought a set of 2-pocket colored transparent page dividers at Walmart for about $3.50. I then cut 2-1/2 inch letters using my Cricut die-cut machine and the Learning Curve cartridge. With a little careful planning, I was able to get 9 to 10 sets of letters (6 lowercase; 4 uppercase) out of one package.

  2. Kristen Stehli February 13, 2012 at 1:36 pm - Reply

    I would love for you to come and link your blog to my new linky party. It can be a particular blog post of yours or just a link to your blog. Please come add your blog to the linky party now!! Thanks!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. February 13, 2012 at 1:40 pm - Reply

      I’m all linked up Kristen:)

  3. Michelle February 13, 2012 at 3:11 pm - Reply

    I miss our light table this year. With such little ones this year I can’t use it as much. Our playroom is full of natural light also, although not as much as yours, so I would sometimes but the light table in a tent or a large cardboard box so the kids could really get the brightness of the table. I would let 3 people in the tent (it was bigger) and only 2 in the cardboard box, but they LOVED it!! I wouldn’t leave it out for more than a week, I found the novelty wore off and sometimes they would get silly inside, but for the most part they were great about following the rules.
    Great Post!!

  4. Allison February 13, 2012 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    I love the hunting for small items. Great idea!

  5. Vicky February 13, 2012 at 6:49 pm - Reply

    You have convinced me that I need a light table. I don’t want to spend the money but maybe I can get my hubby to make one. Love the many uses for the light table. Vicky from Mess For Less

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. February 13, 2012 at 7:17 pm - Reply

      Get that hubby to make you one for sure:)

  6. Kay Erikson February 13, 2012 at 8:47 pm - Reply

    What a fabulous list! Thank you

  7. Crystal @ Growing A Jeweled Rose February 13, 2012 at 11:12 pm - Reply

    I linked up a post that includes the do it yourself hand held light box we came up with. If this is not quite what you were looking for, please feel free to remove it! We love our regular size light box too! Thanks for inspiring some new ideas :))

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. February 14, 2012 at 6:19 am - Reply

      Glad to have you join us Crystal!

  8. Leeanne A February 14, 2012 at 6:55 am - Reply

    I added a few – hope that’s OK – I like to share! 🙂

  9. Katie Q February 14, 2012 at 11:55 pm - Reply

    I love the activities using the petri dishes. Great way to teach the little ones about centrifugal force.

  10. Brenda February 15, 2012 at 9:47 am - Reply

    I have printed the pictures of the children on a transparency and they use those on the light table. If a child wears glasses, they overlap each others faces and see how they look.

  11. stephanie a. February 15, 2012 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this post… you inspired me to make a light table! i’ll post about that adventure soon : )

  12. Linda March 17, 2012 at 10:32 pm - Reply

    I wanted to share another way to possibly get a light table . . . I just got mine for FREE! I asked a local chiropractor for some x-rays. He gave me a stack and then asked if I wanted the light box to go with them! (I almost said “no”–What was I thinking?) Anyway, now I have a free light box. With everything going digital these days, I am guessing there may be other chiropractors, vets, or clinics that have light boxes sitting around gathering dust. I wanted to pass this on to others so they might be able to score a free light box too! Note: it is a little cumbersome, but I am planning to have my hubby make a cabinet for it with possibly some storage as well.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 18, 2012 at 7:22 pm - Reply

      What a great suggestion Linda – I will have to contact a few folks around here and see what they are saying about their old light tables.

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