Thursday, February 20, 2014

Light Table Letter Match

About a year ago I started noticing other bloggers' posts on using light tables with kids. Although they make light tables specifically for kids, I was inspired to ask on our town e-mail list if a former photographer had a table they would be willing to sell of give away. I was pretty excited when someone responded with a homemade one as it seemed perfect for using with kids.

We started exploring it just after the winter holidays, when the early evenings were dark and we needed something to perk up our afternoons. This is our most current exploration, and it was a huge hit!

For our exploration I used large, flat marbles from the dollar store and wrote lower case letters onto 26 of them using a black permanent marker. On a piece of tracing paper I traced one marble 26 times and wrote a different capital letter into each one, also using the black marker. I did not write the letters in order on the paper, so that Big Brother would need to look for each capital letter. However, for the first exploration I did set up the lower case letter marbles in order to make the matching process a little more clear. (You may notice there are actually 27 circles/ marbles with a star spot added as well.) 

Big Brother was instantly intrigued before I could even finish setting up, and knew right away he needed to match the letters. He's been really interested in understanding the difference between capital letters and lowercase letters, so combined with the light table this quickly became a high interest activity. 

As I often do, I gauge a project's success by how long it can engage Big Brother. In this case he spent over half an hour matching the letters and then starting over. 

We'll be looking for other ways to add to our list of light table ideas. If you use a light table with kids do you have a favorite activity you like to use it for? 

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  1. I have an autistic grandson who would LOVE this! Can you tell me how your light table was constructed? I would love to make one for him. Thanks for any tips you can provide. Dana Hyatt

    1. Hi Dana, I'm glad to hear that you think your grandson might like this. Using a light table can be a great sensory resource for some kids who don't like tactile sensory experiences. This one does use a fluorescent bulbs, so that could add an uncomfortable element too. Our light box was constructed by the previous owner. It's a small wooden box, with a fluorescent bulb, a piece of plexiglass, and a light switch. I've also seen great ideas for homemade light boxes made from a plastic tub and white light strings.