My children love to use the light table, it's easy to see how it is educational for preschool or primary students but what about for toddlers?
The light table is wonderful for toddlers as it provides:
- an inviting space to learn, it has a warm glow, it's inviting especially in a dark corner or on a dark rainy cold day/week/month.
- the opportunity to explore familiar items in a different way. Items like feathers and leaves look different when backlit.
- for the exploration of shape, light, reflections, silhouettes, colour theory.
- hands-on learning opportunities, some fine motor work.
- open-ended free play that promotes creativity, independent play, coordination and, concentration.
- open-ended free play, in a relaxed environment and if uninterrupted is also beneficial for the child's self-esteem and self-confidence.
- for the development of sorting, stacking, organising, construction, balancing, patterning and visual discrimination skills.
- opportunity for older toddlers to develop literacy and numeracy skills.
When I think of toddlers using the light table I think EXPLORATION, DISCOVERY, FREE PLAY. Think loose parts, tinkering, provocation, invitation to play. The light table attracts toddlers and it draws Otto in, he can turn it on himself and he will pull up his little chair and sit there and play, so quietly but with so much concentration.
Some of the materials Otto has been using on the light table:
- laminated butterflies
- flowers, petals, leaves
- sensory blocks
- play silks
- coloured chips, magnetic coloured chips with a magnet
- plastic recycled lids
- transparent geometric shapes
- coloured shot glasses
Other materials to consider:
- cellophane, tissue paper or kite paper
- animal or human x-rays
- agate slices
- painting with watercolours or drawing with crayons or pastels on transparent paper/tracing paper
- magnetic tiles, geoformers, magnatiles
- sea glass or glass tiles
- insects and other animals in resin
- wool, string, streamers, ribbons,
- buttons, plastic lids, milk container lids
- small world play
- items from around the home or from places like Reverse Garbage that have so many interesting things.
These are transparent geometric shapes. These are useful for construction and building, colour and shape recognition.
So much colour!
Various leaves from our garden.
Coloured shot glasses and coloured chips.
I thought Otto would like to stack and play with the cups but he wasn't interested in the cups alone. He likes to collect and pour the chips into the cups. We don't need to predetermine how our children will play, allow it to be child led.
Playdough on the light table.
Lids and more lids. The recycling bin is a good place to look for suitable materials.
Flowers and petals.
Please note this isn't a Montessori activity but something many families enjoy using at home. The downside is it can be difficult to find a suitable place for the light table, especially if you want to leave it out. Ours is temporarily on Otto's snack table but we need to find a better spot. I'd love to hear if you leave your light table out or where you keep it.
Our previous posts on the light table include: