Children love light tables! Learn the benefits of light tables in preschools and beyond, plus read how you can make your own. This post also includes recommended toys for light tables.
I took these photos on a day when Anna was sick and we spent a lot of time playing quietly on our light table.
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Light Table Alternatives
What You'll Find on This Page
We were lucky enough to receive this light table as a blog review item a few years ago. They can be quite expensive, but you can make your own using an underbed storage bin and LED battery operated lights.
This Crayola tracing pad makes a lovely small light table; you can also buy larger professional tracing tables for less than you would pay for a child’s light table. Be aware that that professional tracing tables may have glass tops and therefore require gentle play; the children’s tables are virtually indestructible and that is where the higher price comes in.
Benefits of Light Table Play in Preschool (and beyond)
My kids go through phases of playing with our light table constantly and ignoring it. Every once in a while, I will set it up – and that has never failed to pull them in.
Light tables are wonderful for creating a quiet, focused environment for small world play.
A light table can instantly brighten up a dark, stormy day, and I find that my children often gravitate towards it when they are sick as well.
I have collected several translucent toys (with more on our “maybe-someday” list) because my kids love playing with them both on and off the light table.
My kids also use our light table for tracing and design projects.
Light Table Play: Toys Kids Love
The blue bocks are clear blue plastic dominoes from bulk dominoes. The clear dominoes cost a bit more than the opaque ones, but my kids LOVE the clear ones – particularly these which remind them of Elsa’s palace. Here are other toys my kids love using on the light table. Some we own; others are on our family wish list after discovering them at children’s museums, which nearly always have light tables. My kids use all of these items off of our light table, as well.
Magna-Tiles are one of my all-time favorite toys. They are very well made, with rivets securing edges and corners. We have been building our collection one Christmas at a time, and always buy the translucent ones, which allow for cathedral-like buildings on the light table.
These adorable math manipulative Family Counters get a lot of play with wooden blocks as well as on our light table. I love that the baby can be carried. They are wonderful for color, shape, and size sorting – and they make math homework a lot more fun!
I love the way the Learning Resources Letter Construction Activity Set breaks letters into a few different shapes. My kids make things besides letters with these, as well.
True to life human x-rays. These are real human x-rays that can be put together to create a complete skeleton. Since they are life-size, my kids can only view a couple on our light table at a time. You could pin the entire thing to a sliding door or large window, though. There is also an animal x-ray set that we have on our “someday” list.
These Viewthru Geometric Solids are on my wishlist. I love the range of colors and think they are wonderful for helping kids understand how shapes are made.
Rainbow blocks are fun both on and off the light table, and this set is more affordable than others I have found. My kids like to turn their world a new color by looking through them.
These Power Polygons are great for exploring shapes on light tables!
What Benefits of Light Table Play Do You See?
What toys would you add to this list? Do you have a light table? What benefits of light tables in preschool (and beyond) do you see?
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