Monday, August 6, 2012

Light Tables 101 (featuring 101 ways to use a light table)

Welcome to Light Tables 101

Some of our light table toys set out to play with

What is a light table? A light table is an illuminated table, panel, or box. They are used for learning and exploring different educational toys and materials, as therapy for autistic, sight impaired  and other special needs children,  for artists to draw and trace on, for Doctors to view X-Rays,  and widely used as an educational staple in Reggio Emilia based schools. 

There are four forms of a Light Table, they all do the same thing but vary in size. However each form of a light table have different types, sizes, and quality as well. Plus certain light boxes are generally only for use by Doctors for X-Ray viewing. I have seen some Moms buy them off ebay and use them effectively as a light table though.
  1. Light Table (looks more like a table, some are for standing up and some are lower to the ground)
  2. Light Panel (sits on a table and is easily portable)
  3. Light Box (more box like, usually sits on a table or floor)
  4. Light Pad (similar to a light panel)
You can also use an overhead projector too, they are amazing and wonderful for playing with light too! When using an overhead projector you are not just playing and learning with light you are playing and learning with projected light, color, images, etc!!

My twins using their overhead projector

Why would you want a light table for your children? Because they are an amazing way to explore light and learn about how different materials react to being placed on a light source. Light tables are a unique educational item that can help your child learn and explore through a whole new world. For example, take a colored translucent drinking glass and set it on a wooden table. Look at the glass. Oh boy, it's a glass sitting on the table. Big deal, huh? Well ok now take that same glass, remove your lamp shade, turn on the lamp and hold the colored translucent glass in front of it. Now what do you see? What do you think? It looks pretty interesting now, right? Well this is what a light table does. It makes learning so much more interesting. It opens your eyes and your children's eyes to a whole new way of learning. 

My glass of water in front of an LED candle

This is a great website to learn more about Reggio Emilia Education

I highly recommend reading Making the most of light and mirrors if you really want to learn a lot about light tables, playing with light, and adding mirrors into the mix. It is an amazing book! I love this book and often show it to my other Mommy friends.

You can see all of the awesome and amazing ways my Twins play on their light tables here

101 ways to explore and learn on a light table
  1. Light Tables  by Montessori Ici
  2. DIY Light Panel Letter Cards by PAHM
  3. Colour on the light table by Happy Hooligans
  4. Light box color by Sense of Wonder
  5. DIY light table shapes by Growing a Jeweled Rose
  6. Fun with the overhead projector by Sense of Wonder
  7. Art Project: overhead projector by Tinkerlab
  8. Embroidery hoop and tactile letters by De Tout Et De Rien
  9. Bottles of discovery by De Tout Et De Rien
  10. Water Beads, whats all the buzz about by Child Central Station
  11. Salt on the light table by Child Central Station
  12. Our light table set up by Caution! Twins at Play
  13. Constructing letters by PAHM
  14. Bingo Play by PAHM
  15. Create educational materials for the light table by De Tout Et De Rien
  16. Skittles, Easter eggs, and light table by De Tout Et De Rien
  17. Bottles of discovery: when exploration is a game  by De Tout Et De Rien
  18. Exploring the light table in preschool by Teach Preschool
  19. Gel Window Decorations on the light table  by De Tout Et De Rien
  20. Art and light by PAHM
  21. More activities for the light table  by De Tout Et De Rien
  22. DIY sounds bingo by PAHM
  23. DIY translucent geo board by PAHM
  24. Translucent alphabet building blocks on the light table  by De Tout Et De Rien
  25. RSV Vaccine/Playing Scientist by PAHM
  26. And it goes to the light table  by De Tout Et De Rien
  27. Broken up with the bubble wrap   by De Tout Et De Rien
  28. Paper towels, color, water by PAHM
  29. Multisensory, Tactile tracer bags by PAHM
  30. Igloo by PAHM
  31. Colored water, containers, and droppers by Caution! Twins at Play
  32. Water, color, containers, and light by PAHM
  33. Color - glow - illuminate by Caution! Twins at Play
  34. Pretty colors by Caution! Twins at Play
  35. Hexbug Nanoville by Caution! Twins at Play
  36. Some things we did today by Caution! Twins at Play
  37. ice ice baby by Caution! Twins at Play
  38. Cutting and building by Caution! Twins at Play
  39. Light, mirrors, and projection by Caution! Twins at Play
  40. Nonstop Shenanigans by Caution! Twins at Play
  41. Lots of light table fun today by Caution! Twins at Play
  42. A glass mosaic adventure by PAHM
  43. Stamps, easel, playstand, and zoo by Caution! Twins at Play
  44. Bears, beads, and letters by Caution! Twins at Play
  45. Light table geo board by Caution! Twins at Play
  46. blocks, counting fruit, lightbox by Caution! Twins at Play
  47. Paperclips, rubber bands, and hula hula tiki men by Caution! Twins at Play
  48. Color and light by Caution! Twins at Play
  49. Every day is a new adventure by Caution! Twins at Play
  50. A little bit of this, a little bit of that by Caution! Twins at Play
  51. Roads, trees, and light by Caution! Twins at Play
  52. The magic of a days play by Caution! Twins at Play
  53. May the force be with you by Caution! Twins at Play
  54. Fun, home made light table worksheets by Caution! Twins at Play
  55. Translucent silly putty by PAHM
  56. Bed time disco party by Caution! Twins at Play
  57. Gems, marbles, tiles, and light by Caution! Twins at Play
  58. Castles, tunnels, caves, pyramids, and light by PAHM
  59. A spotlight on basic skills by PAHM
  60. EnLIGHTening math by PAHM
  61. Illuminating art by PAHM
  62. Lava lamp in a box by PAHM
  63. Sands, salts, and light by PAHM
  64. Through the sands of time by Caution! Twins at Play
  65. DIY paper dolls for the light table by Caution! Twins at Play
  66. The Andy Warhol freeze dance by Caution! Twins at Play
  67. Can we build it? Yes we can! by Caution! Twins at Play
  68. DIY light table games by Caution! Twins at Play
  69. Bubbles and light by PAHM
  70. Glitter window hearts by Caution! Twins at Play
  71. Mirror Exploration by PAHM
  72. Sand storm by PAHM
  73. All you need is play by Caution! Twins at Play
  74. Pouring, building, playing, creating by Caution! Twins at Play
  75. More overhead projector fun by Caution! Twins at Play
  76. A classic with a twist by PAHM
  77. Exploration light table by Pink and Green Mama
  78. Projected colors by PAHM
  79. Light box Mandalas by Flights of Whimsy
  80. For the love of rocks an early literacy adventure by PAHM
  81. Light and color by Montessori Candy
  82. Science on the light box by Testy yet trying
  83. Water beads and light by PAHM
  84. Seasonal sensory bin and light by PAHM
  85. Black sand and light by Caution! Twins at Play
  86. Everyday light table play by Teach Preschool
  87. Full of awesome by Caution! Twins at Play
  88. Halloween skills by PAHM
  89. Introduction to the light box by Speech room news
  90. Big giant tree of light by PAHM
  91. Projected play by PAHM
  92. A beautiful house by Reggio Kids
  93. Ice skating sensory bin by PAHM
  94. Atmosphere for creativity by Casa Maria's creative learning zone
  95. Color, dancing, and Easter by Caution! Twins at Play
  96. Storytelling on the light box by Filth Wizardry
  97. Color mixing activity from Little Hands Big Work
  98. It's always time to play by Caution! Twins at Play
  99. The magic of child guided play - A light panel forest by PAHM
  100. Outside Inside by PAHM
  101. Life is full of hidden art by Caution! Twins at Play

Where to purchase light table toys

Where you can purchase a light table

DIY light tables and light boxes

Be sure to see part 2 of Light Tables 101 entitled Light Table TOYS 101!!  view it HERE!!

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The Ultimate Light Table Guide

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  1. Thank you for sharing my light table post!

  2. Wow, those do sound interesting. I'm sure kids would love them. Thanks for sharing all these links! (I'm stopping by from the Thinky Linky.)

  3. Wow, this is a really awesome list. Pinned! Thanks for linking up to Thinky Linky Thursday!
    Lori @ Cachey Mama’s Classroom

  4. Pinning this also! This is a great post!! :)

  5. What an awesome resource! I just featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page and pinned it to my Light Box Ideas and Activities Board at

  6. Wow! I have always wanted to try a light table! I think I will pin this for when I have time to make one! Thanks fr sharing! I would love to have you stop by and link up with my weekly linky party, Taking Time Tuesday! We are sharing the fun we took the time to have with our kiddos this week!

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