Tuesday, August 21, 2012

DIY Light Box

I vaguely remember three things about my preschool experience--
1. At snack time my teacher would make "Tinkerbell" dance around the ceiling (now I know it was a flashlight, but where was she hiding it?)
2. The sand table-- oh, I loved the sand table. (Probably because my parents built my brothers and I a sandbox out in the backyard.)
and 3. The light table.

There is something about water, sand, and light that children adore. And who can really blame them? I have just as much fun experimenting along side them with those three same things!

When I started coming across ideas for DIY light tables on Pinterest, I was excited. Most preschool/day care programs these days just don't have the funds to get a $200-$500 piece of equipment they may see as "frivolous". As I searched through the blog posts hoping to see the right idea jump out at me, I became disappointed. I am not a carpenter, and neither is my husband-to-be (however, this is something I'm really interested in exploring). And the plastic box ones... something was just... missing.

Until I saw this post: "The Perfect DIY Container Light Box" at Caution! Twins at Play. Jackpot! I had found the simple solution- a storage box from IKEA, and a light from Walmart was all I needed!

Now, I'm not one of the fortunate ones who has an IKEA within reasonable driving distance. This is probably better for my pocket book because I've been once, and I love that place. (In fact, I'm going again this weekend.) I researched where the "local" IKEAs were and low and behold, there was one not far from a racetrack the husband-to-be was dragging me to. So that problem was solved.

Total cost- the SNÃ…LIS box & lid at IKEA was about $8, and this LED Remote Control Light light at Walmart was $15 (plus batteries). So for $23 this is a very practical DIY Light Box and really it couldn't be any simpler to make. Putting it together is really quite simple: add batteries to light and remote, secure light to bottom of box, put on lid, whala! You're done.

Today I introduced my class to the Light Box and boy, it was a hit!

I found some simple manipulatives at the Dollar Tree for the introductory period: glow in the dark stars, ocean animals, and other animals. As well as a pack of six simple tops (my kids LOVE tops-- spinners they call them-- so I knew these would be a hit). I also picked up some clear plastic plates to maybe draw on with dry erase markers later.

I have a thicker fleece blanket hanging over the light box-- being supported by our stacked cots and Discovery shelf. This helped, but ultimately it was best when the lights in that part of the room were off.

I had a two-year-old visitor from my old room and she figured out if you spun the top and put the flashlight (we have four flashlights in our Discovery Area) that it made a cool color pattern:

Trying to capture it was hard with my camera. She was fascinated by it. :)

I have more plans for my little Light Box and my Threes-- gel bags with glitter, water beads, slime, wikki sticks, maybe sand. I also want to purchase some more manipulatives, like the Magna-Blocks, but right now I'm keeping it simple. I'm also looking for more ideas, so if you have any, please leave a comment! :)

Until Next Time-

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the shout out and so please to see that you all made the light box from my blog!!!!