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Light Table Play at 4-years-old

At 4-years-old, Gus spends his mornings in Children's House (Montessori 3-6 community) and his afternoon's here at home. During his time at home, we aren't trying to replicate much of the Montessori work that he does at school each morning, instead, we want to build on the skills he is interested in and support the learning he is doing at school. He has a combination of open ended materials and tray work available to him. 

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One thing that has been very popular with him lately has been light table exploration. In the dark winter months, I find that the light table is super appealing afternoon work. It's one of those things that is perfect for filling the time between the hours when it is too dark for him to be out playing alone but not quite dinner time yet. 

I recently created a light table play kit for Gus to easily access some of our light table materials and explore with creating different visual designs and patterns. To create, I used one of our left over boxes from a play dough kit that Nora received a couple years ago. I personally like these boxes because Teddy can't open them so he is safe from the little pieces. It's just a simple divided container, but any tray, box, or even basket would work just fine. 

In addition to our light table, this box contains: 

And, that's it. I love that everything can be packed back into the box and placed on the shelf for whenever Gus wants to use it. I kept the number of things in the box pretty minimal because I don't want it to be so overwhelming that Gus doesn't want to clean it up. 

I love all the hidden, sneaky math opportunities light table play presents as well. Beyond being really beautiful, this kind of play really has so much learning potential. From this simple box, Gus can explore: 
  • Color mixing 
  • Pattern making 
  • Shapes and their relationships to geometric solids 
  • Fine motor control - stacking, lining up, picking up and putting down
  • Counting and grouping 
  • Artistic expression - it just really is beautiful 
  • Sensory exploration
There are tons of other ways to explore with the light table. This is just one idea that has been really accessible and fun for Gus right now. As Maria Montessori said, "the senses, being explorers of the world, open the way to knowledge." (The Absorbent Mind) For us, light table exploration is just one way to really create a way to explore with the senses that isn't a direct recreation of the work he sees every day at school. 

Do your children enjoy light table play? What kind of materials is your 4-year-old interested in? 

A DIY light table play box for 4-year-olds. This Montessori friendly toy is perfect for a variety of fun learning activities.



antass said…
So inspiring! Thank you! As I was browsing the Tickit store on Amazon pondering whether I should invest in a light table now I found a set of cubes.. would these be similar?

TickiT 9245 Translucent Cubes (Pack of 54)

They look fun!

Yes, they look hollow, but very similar!
Jill said…
I just found some here:
antass said…
Ah, just noticed the ones Nicole was showing were solid. Ordered the 20pc set from The Loco Mama - Thanks, Jill!

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