Saturday, January 7, 2012

Homemade Light Box and Play Materials

I follow a lot of play-based preschool blogs, and lately I've been seeing light table play popping up all over them. I looked into buying one, but the tables I found online were all in the $150-400 range. Not in the budget. So I made my own.

I used a plastic storage bin and Christmas lights (actually, Halloween lights - $0.50/box on sale after Halloween). The bin is long and shallow. The underside is flat, unmarked, and frosted. Perfect for diffusing light. The little ridge running around the edge keeps small objects from falling off. I got this bin from Wal-Mart for $6.

I also bought some mirror tiles that I think will be nice to hang above the light box in the playroom. I'm considering painting the sides/lid inside the box silver or lining them with something reflective, but it's functioning just fine as-is.

Again searching online for light box play materials, I was staggered by the prices. So I scoured my craft room for translucent/transparent materials. I came out with clear plastic shower curtain rings, clear flat-bottomed glass marbles, colored glass cubes, and colored tumbled glass. I also grabbed some extra colored translucent cups from the kitchen and found some vinyl containers from the dollar store.

Margaret went crazy when she awoke from her nap to this fun new toy. She spent the rest of the evening sorting, stacking, dumping, and creating patterns on the light box.

Sorting the glass by color.

Lining up the cubes.

She took a quick break to don her Emily (Little Bear) costume and went right back to work with the cups.


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