Light tables and light play ideas are as popular as ever! With great new products and ideas the options are endless. I have been asked what to do with the light table or panel and my answer is always “The options are endless!”
Light tables/panels/pads can be used:
- to explore materials for opacity, transparency, translucency (science)
- to add an extra sensory experience (make regular activities that little bit brighter)
- to enhance art (painting, drawing, tracing, printing, colour mixing)
- to enhance language activities (using letters to make cvc words, practice sight words, recognize names)
- to enhance math activities (sorting, counting, shape exploration)
- exploring and observing anything (science experiments, nature, mirrors)
We got the opportunity to play with this great Ultra Bright LED Light Panel from Quality Classrooms. It is beautifully bright without being too much. Light weight and portable means you can quickly set it up anywhere in the classroom. If you don’t want to invest in a large light table, a light panel or pad is a great option. It measures 18-3/4″ x 14″ x 1/2″ which is good size for little hands and bevelled edge makes the light seem almost magical.
I set out Light Table Numbers and gems from the Manipulative Kit for the Light Table and let Daisy play.
She organised the numbers in order and sorted the gems by colour.
Rose was also excited to play!
She was more content to enjoy the feel of the gems and the colour, letting them slip through her fingers and drop gently onto the light panel.
Remembering to use the light table for variety of structured and unstructured activities is important. It never fails to add to the activity.
Here are some past activities where the light table has added dimensions:
Light table colour bags to practice letter formation.
Sorting fruit by colour and working on that pincer grip.
Counting with transparent chips and sorting by colour.
Open-ended play, with the First Look Light Table Kit
For more ideas check out our Pinterest board here.
We refer to our laminated wall map at least a couple of times a week and have completed activities using it including Where does our food come from?
We find having a map close to the dining table means we can refer to a country or town named in the news or general discussion. This helps Daisy in particular, locate an area in the world and often helps us increase our geographical knowledge.
We have noticed that locating the continents are still a struggle so an activity that focuses just on continents was needed.
Rose loves puzzles and will sit for an hour doing puzzle after puzzle. Referring to the box for help is a new concept to her and she enjoyed matching puzzle pieces to the picture on the front of the box.
Learning to complete the outside of the puzzle first, is a reminder I often give when I can see frustration beginning. This puzzle is aimed at age 6+ but with Daisy`s help Rose was able to participate too.
Standing on the world!
When the puzzle was built we identified each continent and talked about some characteristics and countries within the continents.
The World Map Floor Puzzle has 33 pieces and covers 2 x 3 feet when assembled. It is made of sturdy card, is easy to clean and includes an illustration:
I can see this being copied and used as Daisy’s geographical knowledge develops. The puzzle is available from Quality Classrooms and another option is the Canada Map Floor Puzzle if you want to focus more locally.
What ways do you teach geographical knowledge and understanding?
So I have great memories of playing with Lego as a child and it always involved building something for people to use. A structure alone was never enough, it had to be usable by people. My children are similar, most things they build have a use for the people whether they are Duplo people or Lego people or random ‘small world play’ people.
We only got Lego in the house on Daisy’s 6th birthday, nearly a year ago. Yes, I know this is a crime to some people, especially parents with boys but she had not shown any interest in Lego before that. Things have changed now. Rose received lots of Duplo at Christmas time and both the Duplo and Lego have prime position in our living room.
Here Rose is making a hotel for her Duplo people.
I did start to wonder what all the fuss was with Lego and Duplo and did a little research. Here is what I found out:
Benefits of playing with Lego and Duplo
- Creativity: the most obvious choice for me, hours and hours of open ended play with only the imagination as the limit.
- Planning and Problem solving skills: these are developed as children realise a plan in their heads and work towards making it a reality
- Math skills: sorting bricks, finding the correct size brick, thinking in 3D, patterning and proportions, measuring and counting are all part of Lego play.
- Fine motor skills: building and separating bricks takes great dexterity as anyone who has played with Lego knows. (I do want to get my hands on a brick separator!)
- Ability to follow directions: if you use the kits and instructions (we don’t tend to)
While I understand the appeal of individual kits with set instructions to build a certain project, I prefer the open endedness of these type of kits:
The Lego Duplo Explore Basic Bulk
Lego Brick Set
You can then add base plates and themes kits if you want.
A house, complete with chairs, plants and windows.
Look, a hippo!
This impressive construction is a movie theater Uncle Andy helped build. It was played with for weeks!
The play is never ending as are the opportunities to tie play into current learning themes!
I am a re-enthused Lego and Duplo fan!