Fall leaves at the light table

Before school began this year, I finally decided it was time to break down and buy me a new light table. I wanted a table that could stand alone, be large enough for several children to work on at one time, and have good lighting that worked well even during the day time in a classroom with lots of windows….

Fall Leaves at the Light Table by Teach Preschool

After checking around, I finally decided to purchase the light table by Whitney Brothers. So far, I couldn’t be happier! I purchased my light table off of Amazon and all I had to connect was the bottom legs to the light box. It was simple.  I have provided an Amazon link to the table I am using below for those who are interested in learning more…

We have used our light table for lots of different things so far this year and one of our most recent light table explorations was to take a close look at the signs of fall. One of those signs is the changing color of the leaves. Miss Abby collected leaves from around her neighborhood for this process as the leaves on my own property are still all green. But soon the leaves here will change color and we will continue our exploration of the signs of fall outdoors as well as indoors…

Fall Leaves at the Light Table by Teach Preschool

The “windows” that you see the leaves are in are my homemade exploration windows. To make your own exploration windows like ours you will need…

  1. Heavy cardboard (I cut up a white corrugated cardboard science board into small squares that I found at the Dollar Tree. One board makes about 20+ frames and the cardboard also makes great paint or glue canvases for art).
  2. Overhead projector film or some other type of heavy clear plastic that you can cut.
  3. Clear packing tape

I simply cut a frame from the cardboard, then taped a piece of the overhead projector film to the front of the frame and to the back of the frame.  I sealed the leaves in between the sheets of projector film and added tape all the way around the edges to keep the leaves from falling out the sides as the children pick up, turn, or move the observation windows around the table or the classroom…

Fall Leaves at the Light Table by Teach Preschool

The children can handle the observation windows easily and without worry of the windows easily coming apart or tearing. I love them and plan to make more as I have time with a variety of materials for the light table…

Fall Leaves at the Light Table by Teach Preschool

The DIY observation windows would also work well outdoors for looking at leaves in the sunlight…

Fall Leaves at the Light Table by Teach Preschool

On the light table, I set out the leaves, crayons, and thin paper for the children to trace or draw the leaves if they would like.  One child tried leaf rubbing with the crayon and did find a few vein lines pop up. Another decided the veins from the leaf on his rubbing looked like a treasure map and was off to now search for treasure…

Fall Leaves at the Light Table by Teach Preschool

The children came and went from the light table all through out the morning. They spent time observing, talking, drawing, coloring, and feeling the leaves.  We also had leaves set around the classroom that were not inside a window for the children to explore…

Fall Leaves at the Light Table by Teach Preschool

Fall is such an amazing time of year to explore nature through many different ways in the classroom. Light table exploration is just one example of the things we are and will be doing over the next few weeks. I am so glad that we have preschool in the fall. It is such an amazing time of the year!

Fall Leaves at the Light Table by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

By |2014-10-02T23:49:57+00:00October 2nd, 2014|

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. elizabeth October 3, 2014 at 7:44 am - Reply

    Your link for the light table only got me to the main amazon page. Can you give more information on this table.

  2. elizabeth October 3, 2014 at 7:46 am - Reply

    Your table has a shelf and the one I saw that was similar did not.

  3. shannon October 3, 2014 at 10:16 am - Reply

    Great idea! I wonder, that since I’m lousy about cutting nice even squares inside card board, if one could use the pre-cut mat boards from picture frames instead? I think those can be found at the dollar store too. Thanks for all the inspirations you give us!

  4. Terry October 7, 2014 at 12:12 am - Reply

    Where did you get your light table? I am on a limited budget and looking for suggestions.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 8, 2014 at 4:52 pm - Reply

      Hi Terry,
      I purchased it off of Amazon when I found it go on sale. There is a link to the light table in the post.

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