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small parts play on the diy light box

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Light play can provide children with the opportunity to explore dimensions, light rays, shadows, and the use of all their senses.  I have admired light play and learning for quite some time. I love this engagement, but I was incredibly intimidated by the price tag on some light tables!  I found a do-it-yourself version that is beyond simple, and together, paired with small parts for open-ended play, this is an engaging and exciting learning time for kids of all ages!!


Way too simple diy light box….

I have seen several DIY versions, but I still just didn’t think I had the time {lol, right}. Anyways, I finally got motivated last week and we made our first DIY light box –I followed this super simple and inexpensive DIY light box from Danya Banya which used supplies that I already had on hand.   {I have more DIY links below, if you’re looking for a longer lasting and go-the-distance version}. Ours was made without a hitch, though I wish I’d used a larger box.  Honestly, I should have done this six months ago!

For the small parts play….

I set up our new light box with my newly-purchased sections box for small parts play.  This little box was a wonderful find from the amazing wood section at Michael’s store.  Loaded with various small little items for little hands, this type of invitation to play can provide hours of exploration and creativity. Let me first say that, I know my children, and you know yours. Only you know if various objects are a choking hazard or mouthing temptation for your child.

{My blog cannot be held liable for your at-home play, hence this warning, so please supervise and practice safety at all times!!}


{This post contains affiliate links, please see my disclosure policy.} 

Back to the play time. Small parts have provided amazing pretend play and mathematics learning to our home and homeschool. Ever since we ditched most of our toys, my children have ignited with creativity. The small parts are usually “food” or “garbage for the garbage truck” or “post office mail” etc, etc. {see : our Reggio-inspired playroom}.

I set up our light table with our new small parts box. This included wooden alphabet letters, bells, wooden discs, paper straws, seashells, colorful mosaic tiles, clothespin peg dolls, paper flowers, wooden blocks, wooden sticks, flat glass marbles, and wooden numbers {many of these I purchased at Michael’s!}

The children were thrilled both from playing in the dark, and by our box. They were engaged for at least an hour of supervised play.


We organized letters in alphabetical order.


We tried making patterns.

DSC03964We did 1:1 {one to one} correspondence work with numbers.

DSC03965We “ate” little plates full or lettuce and sandwiches.

DSC03981The next day, daddy joined in on the fun and I set out some fall-themed clear and colored pumpkins, apples, and leaves. I showed the children how to separate by color, and John impressed daddy by placing his numbers from 1 to 10!DSC03977

This was a wonderful time of learning and exploration and I’d recommend light work for any child! {Remember, supervision is required at all times!}

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Check out these wonderful Light Box posts:

DIY Light Table from And Next Comes L {I want to make this one as a more permanent light box soon!!}

Multi Colored Light Box Tutorial from Lalymom

100+ Light Table Activity Guide! from And Next Comes L

DIY Nature Slides & Light Play from Where Imagination Grows

Color on the Light Table from Still Playing School

Sea Glass on the Light Table from My Nearest and Dearest

Balloons on a Sticky Light Table from And Next Comes L

Light Play from And Next Comes L

Light Play from Still Playing School


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  1. your link to the light table instructions didn’t work for me. bummer.

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