Sunday, 16 September 2012

Light play

I first came across the concept of using a light panel for play on Play At Home Mom LLC, those ladies are the experts on this particular piece of equipment - i'm just spreading the word! So here's the original post I read:

Once I was convinced of the idea, I did some research on stockists in Australia, and found this one for the best price at Educational Experience:

It's definitely NOT a cheap purchase, but it is a truly versatile toy which lasts a child many years, and therefore I see it as a great investment in learning. So with the help of one of Bean's grandparents, we went ahead and bought one for her first birthday. A kind of unusual gift for a one year old perhaps, but 5 months on and it's one of the only toys we have that still gets used every day, often more than once a day (and now that Bean can, she regularly gets it out all by herself, which tells me that it's not only me who really enjoys it!).

 What I find so exciting about the light panel is the endless possibilities it has for play - there are SO many things you can use it for that it's really only limited by your imagination and creativity. In the beginning we used it mostly to enhance sensory play, such as the above photo of Bean exploring coloured rice...

...and coloured feathers from the craft store...

...and glass pebbles from the dollar shop.

Now Bean is a little older and more coordinated we've started doing things like building and stacking on the light panel:

The blocks pictured here are 'Rainbow Crystal Blocks' available online from Kangaroo Toys (, and the little cups Bean is stacking are just transparent shot glasses bought at the dollar store. Bean has really taken to the stacking cups lately, and the other night we stumbled across a way to play peekaboo with them using a humble kitchen roll tube...

Here she has a long stack of cups in her hand and uses the tube to cover them up "Where are the cups?" I say....

"Ahhhhhh!" she exclaims pulling the tube off to reveal the stacked cups. So funny! 

Other things we've done so far with the light panel are....

...Shapes. Cut out from some lighting gels that I found on ebay for around $15 (which gets you a lot of them so I have many more shapes still to make)...

 ...Colours. Using colour paddles to demonstrate colour mixing, also available online from Kangaroo Toys (

...and Magna Tiles, which I picked up on our recent trip to the US from Discount School Supply (these are also available in Australia from Kangaroo Toys,, but unfortunately they're about twice the price as when you buy them from the US). Above we've used them for patterns....

...and here for building (although so far I do most of the construction, whilst Bean is mostly the demolition expert!).

There are heaps of other things I plan to try on the light panel in the coming months, such as painting with watercolours and exploring water beads, and of course as Bean grows and develops the list of activities for this toy only gets longer! So, if you can do it I highly recommend this as an educational and developmental toy...or maybe drop a hint to some helpful relatives around Christmas time! Just sayin' ;-)

B xx

1 comment:

  1. I love your ideas! I've been dropping hints to the rellies for years about cool educational toys... never worked, I always have to buy them myself ;)
    I'd really like a light panel or light table for the kids, but I think I'll go down the DIY path... I think I saw on Tinkerlab hints an tips on how to make your own, something like lights inside a sturdy box. I bought so many things this year that I feel I really should use more crafting and inventiveness with the kids.
    Linking in to another post of yours, have you tried pouring a thin layer of rainbow rice on the light panel? Bean might enjoy drawing with her finger in it and see the light shine through :)