Inside: This collection of light table activities is full of hands-on exploration that build a variety of skills. Perfect for toddlers and preschoolers!
The first time I saw a light table in a preschool classroom, I was drawn to the display on top of it. I knew I wanted one for our classroom! I immediately started searching for fun light table activities that would work well with young children. I never dreamed how many different fun light table activities existed!
If you have a light table, you know what I am talking about.
But, you might not have one. Yet. If it’s because of the cost, there is good news! You can make your own for a fraction of the cost. As you scroll down this page, you will find a link.
We have ours tucked in our reading and writing area and it’s a perfect spot for one or two children to explore color, as well as other concepts. We usually change what we have on our light table each week, so this allows for a nice variety.
No matter what time of year, what season we are enjoying, there is a nice variety of activities that can be used at the light table. I’ve put together a collection of fun light table activities that our preschoolers have enjoyed in our classroom.
Edited to add: I’m often asked what light table we currently use. It is a light box by Excellerations and you can find it here. I also share some others, as well as homemade versions, towards the bottom of this post.
Ultimate Collection of Light Table Activities
Today I’m sharing activities that we have done in our classroom, tested by many young children. Please note that the activities with small pieces should not be used by toddlers or for preschoolers that are still putting things in their mouths.
Light Table Activities: Exploring Nature
Magnifying Blocks and Shells
During ourbeach theme I set up a shell exploration area on top of the light table. I was pretty resourceful and laminated our tan colored paper towels to look like sand, along with some ocean waves printables that were already in our theme box.
Light Table Activities: Fitting Pieces Together
Light Table Activities: Colors
The light table is a great surface for teaching young children about colors.
Place a few different colored translucent pieces on top of the table and find out what happens when one is placed in front of the other.
These transparent light and color blocks are not only fun for color mixing, but also for stacking and building.
Every so often we will feature one particular color at the light table. As the children find objects of this color in our classroom, they will add it to the collection.
At this light table we pulled yellow pieces from the following sets:
I laminated sheets of yellow tissue paper and placed the light table materials on top.
When we studied the color green I added green pieces from these collections:
I also added the book Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. This book showcases beautiful die cut pages with everything that is green.
Light Table Activities: Color Sorting
I propped the book Apples, Apples, Apples on the table to add some literacy.
Bears and Caves Color Matching
Rainbow Color Sorting
I laminated rows of crepe paper in rainbow colors and then added some color blocks .
We love to explore spiders in the fall, so I combined them with blocks for loose parts play.
Read more here: Spider Light Table
Winter Blue and White
We explored the colors blue and white, along with different textures, for a fun hands-on winter activity.
Read more about it here: Winter Loose Parts Light Table
While exploring the color white, we put loose parts with different textures on our light table.
Winter Loose Parts
Try using loose parts on the light table! For this winter scene we found odds and ends in our storage room that were the colors of white and blue, along with paper doilies. Notice all the textures?
Winter Scene with Tree Blocks
Add Contact (sticky) paper to the top of your light table along with flowers!
Read more about this activity here: Spring Light Table for the Gardening Theme
Light Table Activities: Holidays
Many times I am inspired by pieces that have been in our storage room for years, such as these small snowmen. I added coordinating small boxes, red and white pom poms, and small containers to put the pieces into.
I found this translucent plastic tree and also a stocking at our local dollar store and added green and red jingle bells as a sorting activity.
I took some heart-shaped boxes and numbered them 1-10. Our children were then invited to put that many small foam hearts into each container.
St. Patrick’s Day
It was all about the color green when I set up this activity! I pulled out our green Magna-Tiles and added some other green building pieces.
I found some bunny egg trays and the dollar store along with plastic eggs. I then took the color cups that come with egg dying kits and added some bug tongs for fine motor fun.
(Speaking of bug tongs, it’s hard to find quality ones. I just found and ordered this set! I’ve had really good luck with other toys made by this brand.)
Another fun idea using the bunny egg trays! While at the dollar store I found some cute bunny plastic eggs and used those instead of regular ones.
Felt is another fun material to use on the light table. I cut some pumpkin shapes out of orange felt and then cut the features from black felt. This is a fun way to work on emotions, too!
Light Table Activities: Science/STEM
And, as I’ve mentioned many times already, Magna-Tiles are always a favorite.
Our butterfly theme activities included matching butterflies at the light table.
You can find the free butterfly matching printable activity in this post.
Light Table Activities: Fine Motor
Stacking blocks is a fun way to strengthen fine motor skills, plus our preschoolers love the challenge of creating tall buildings.
Sensory Color-Mixing Bag
During our community helpers theme we made flames at the light table. I taped my free flames printable onto the surface. I then added a sealed gallon freezer bag that contained red and yellow paint, which I taped on top of the printable. As the children pressed on top of the bag, they mixed the 2 colors.
Light Table Activities: Literacy
Light Table Activities: Math
Toys work well on top of the light table, too! During our farm theme I put our nesting and sorting barns and animals on the table, inviting our toddlers and preschoolers to match the numbers on the animals to the numbers on the barn.
Light Table Activities: Shapes
Just as we do with colors, we often like to feature a specific shape at the light table. We started our school year making circles out of our window blocks. (You can find the circle printable in my free circle packet.)
Store-Bought Light Tables
Want to make your own light table? Allison from No Time for Flashcards shares an easy tutorial on her blog.
Check out our favorite light table activities materials:
More Light Table Activities
All About Me Photo Puzzles (Where Imagination Grows)
Exploring Snow (Lemon Lime Adventures)
Scooping Water Beads (Still Playing School)
Sticky Flowers (Happily Ever Mom)
Dot to Dot Shaving Cream (And Next Comes L)
Fizzing Colors (Artful Parent)
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