Friday, June 28, 2013

Guest Post: DIY Sensory Light Box

WARNING:  After reading this Guest Post you will be running to the Dollar Store.  Thank you for sharing Andrea!  ~Sarah

Hi everyone - I would like to introduce myself.  My name is Andrea Dawe and I met Sarah through a moms group in Calgary almost 2 years ago.  I am also a teacher-at-heart and now a stay-at-home mom to my two kids, aged 3 and 1.  I have just very recently started my own blog, which is mostly recipes from my kitchen (dairy and wheat-free), but I also plan to post about living a greener life and about fun and learning at home with my two kids.  Feel free to check out my blog My Kitchen Notes and Other Ramblings!

Anyways, here is my post on how to make your own sensory light box...

I thought I would share what I have been 'cooking' up the last couple days.  I am working on introducing sensory play to my kiddos (aged 3 and 11 months) at home.  I am in the process of getting organized and making a sensory bin table, but when I found the idea of a DIY light box online, I had to make one right away.  It was super easy, fairly inexpensive, as far as toys go, and will provides hours, hopefully years of fun and learning!  

Here is how I made ours:

I bought a clear tub from Walmart.  Mine is a Sterilite with handle snap sides.  As for size, really up to you.  I wouldn't go too deep for this, so the lights won't be too far down, but enough space you can still store some materials inside if you want.

I lined the inside with tin foil, using scotch tape, nothing fancy, just did it quickly.  This is to keep the light from escaping out the sides of the bin.  I saw the idea of tin foil online, you could probably use construction paper too.   Not sure if the tin foil helps to reflect the light.

I bought some LED push lights from Dollerama.  I have 6, and only enough batteries for 3 so far, but I may even add more to get full coverage of the top of the bin.

These lights came with self adhesive, so I stuck them to the bottom.  You just push the tops to turn them on and off.

I lined the lid with wax paper to make it translucent to help disperse the light.  Again, just a quicky job.

Tada!  Our light box!

The lights don't look like quite as strong as in this picture, they are a bit more subtle.

Here are some things I found mostly at Dollerama to play with on the light table.  I also picked up a Light Bright at a garage sale this weekend, but thought the little pegs would be un on this too.

I also bought some plastic binder dividers that are translucent too, which I am going to cut up ino all different shapes for exploring, learning, and making pictures with.  So far I cut out some squares and wrote the alphabet out on them so we can do some literacy with it too.  I plan to do a whole bunch of letters in both upper and lower case for word work later on.  I plan to do numbers too.  The possibilities are endless!  Taking learning into the dark is just fun!

Here is my daughter checking out the new stuff for her light box tonight.  She loved mixing he primary colours - her expression was priceless!  "I made purple!" 

I like having another bin beside the light box to hold materials in for her to explore with.  You can also use the lid of the extra box flipped upside down to better hold little items, like marbles and such, so they don't roll everywhere.  

I can't wait to see it with more lights.  I think she will enjoy using it in our cardboard house or in our nook under the stairs to get the dark/light contrast.  I just keep thinking of new things we can do with this thing!  Would make a great toy for a power outage or for camping!

I will also let my son use it, but that will require either more close supervision, since he is only 11 months and puts everything in his mouth, or more careful choice of what materials I put out with it.  

You can just give them materials to explore, do guided activities, or make things up as you go along.  So far it's been great for independent play, but she still enjoys to play together best.   It's so neat to watch how they play and learn and come up with things you wouldn't even have thought of!  

Notes:  Try to get a bin with a smooth top.  I didn't, but I may reverse my bin, because he bottom is vey smooth with a nice little ridge around it to keep materials on better.  When I get around to it, I will update.

Just google DIY sensory light box to find more inspiration!  Here are a few pages I took inspiration from:


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