|photos via Play at Home Mom|
From what I’ve seen it looks like you can buy a light panel like this one. It’s not exactly cheap but it is a lot thinner and more easily stored than the DIY versions I’ve seen. Plus you can put a clear plastic bin on top of it so that even babies can get in on the fun. If you do want to go the DIY route to try to save some money (or if you have older kids who like constructing things), Deborah over at Teach Preschool has two great tutorials for doing so. Click through for those as well as lots of great ways to use your light box.
Above you can see the difference between a commercial light panel and some DIY light boxes. You can find a standard size light box DIY here (actually this is an update to the original post, just scroll down to the bottom for that link). There’s also a mini light box DIY here. And if you’d like to go the other direction and build something more substantial that’s suitable for multiple kids, see here.
So once you have a light box, what do you do with it? So glad you asked! Here are five activities that looked like the most fun to me.
- Create art on top of it – I found two methods for making your light box paint and art ready. This one is more temporary and was used just for painting. This one is a permanent solution and is used to paint but also for fun with water and shaving cream.
- Play with sand and salt – See this post for lots of great suggestions on tools and materials.
- Play with sorting and patterns – This post highlights lots of great ways to use light and shadow for this purpose.
- Play with colored bubbles.
- Make your own colored discs – Follow the instructions in this post and melt plastic cups to make your own colored discs. That in itself would be a fun afternoon activity for the kids.
So have I convinced you that you need a light box yet? My dilemma is whether to make or buy. You all know I’m a sucker for a good DIY but the retail version is a lot smaller/thinner and I’m starting to run out of room around here! On the other hand, that price tag is a little hard to swallow. Maybe I could jimmy something up with a tracing light box like this one? Hmmm…