Lightboxes For Preschool !

What Is A Lightbox?

A lightbox or light table is an illuminated surface. They are commonly used in drafting, and for viewing x-rays or artwork. Lightboxes come in many shapes and sizes and they are very popular in early childhood classrooms.

Using them in preschool settings will provide a wonderful teaching and learning tool. They are a calming influence in the playroom and will spark the children’s interest to explore colour mixing, shape and pattern.

Providing a lightbox with inviting resources will encourage children to think critically and creatively in many areas of learning.

What Do Children Learn with A Light Box

  • Lightboxes provide the perfect opportunity to develop problem-solving skills, pattern and colour recognition, as well as language development.
  • Lightbox activities are also great for hand-eye coordination and even pre-writing skills.
  •  The lovely soft and captivating glow means that children spend longer amounts of time engaged with the activity that is provided. This is a fantastic opportunity to stretch their developing attention spans.
  • Using a lightbox encourages children to be better observers. This is because the subtle details of the presented materials are clearly visible on a lightbox than on a non-lit surface.
  • The lightbox improves children’s learning experience as they learn through visual images.
  • The colours of the materials used on the lightbox are enhanced. This will provoke the child’s imagination.

Lightboxes are a very adaptable teaching tool and you can use them for many open-ended play experiences. They also create a very inviting learning space. They are interesting and will captivate and hold children’s attention. The warm glow from the lightbox creates an aesthetic appeal for the whole playroom too.

What Things Can You Use On A lightbox?

I have found that there is just a huge variety of equipment designed especially for lightboxes. You can see these in almost any preschool toy catalogue or good toy shop. When I look around my own preschool environment I have found that you can use almost anything. The possibilities really are endless.

At our preschool, we have a perspex cover over the lightbox. This means we can add messy things like shaving cream. The children love using their little fingers to smoosh and swirl the shaving cream around. They form patterns, write their names or draw faces. It’s such a fantastic sensory experience for them.

In addition, we have also placed leaves, insects in resin and x-rays on the lightbox with magnifying glasses. The children love exploring detail and their eyes light up at new discoveries.

Another popular way we use our lightbox is for general construction activities. This is where those colourful magnetic tiles and coloured blocks have come in so handy.

colour blocks and tiles for Lightbox

I love these coloured splats and look at the colourful cubes. They are a recent addition to our lightbox resources. The magnetic tiles are also great and the children love building with them and looking at the light shine through their creations.

wooden windows for Lightbox

These wooden blocks with colourful windows are always available on our block shelf. Here the children can use them to create objects and patterns.

colour paddles

These colour paddles are just the best! A fantastic colour mixing activity without the mess!!

following patterns on lightbox

Colourful stones can be used to place on the lines and make patterns.

colourful tiles for lightbox

Look at the variety of colours and shapes. The children have such a wonderful time creating beautiful things like flowers, houses, and people. They can let their imaginations run wild!!

mirrors for lightbox

Adding mirrors is also another fun idea. Look how pretty it looks. Such an inviting play area.

I just love the lightbox in our preschool room as it makes the room so warm and inviting. Over the years it’s been so great to watch how the children have learnt and benefited from such a fantastic teaching tool.


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5 thoughts on “Lightboxes For Preschool !”

  1. Claudia J. Glennan

    Grandkids are 5 & 9, love to draw, color, etc. Would you recommend a good light box & where to source some of the “activity” items?
    I just began looking and am a bit overwhelmed.

    1. Ruth(playworkeatrepeat)

      Hi Claudia, at the preschool where I work we buy the majority of our toys and equipment from companies that specialise in teaching resources and educational supplies. One of these companies is an Australian supplier called “Modern Teaching Aids’. They have a lot of really nice colourful toys that can be used for lightbox activities. That is also where we would have purchased the lightbox a very long time ago. I looked on Amazon and saw that they have some lightboxes but I really couldn’t recommend any of them as I have never used them. Amazon also had some Rainbow acrylic blocks that looked similar to the ones we use at preschool and they also sell manga tiles, which the kids love to build with on the lightbox. You could also try places like the two-dollar shops where they often sell colourful glass stones and plastic shot glasses that come in different colours. We have an acrylic cover over our lightbox so the kids can draw using washable gel crayons. Your grandkids would probably enjoy this activity as you mentioned that they love to draw. I do hope this helps, please let me know how you go. 🙂

  2. Claudia J. Glennan

    Thank you. I did not realize you were in Australia. I am in the U.S. so will not have the same resources. I will likely have to wade through the Amazon Maze…ugh. Would you describe the “acrylic cover”? Is it flexible or or like plexiglass?
    I like your website name, the motto of our cycling team is Ride Eat Repeat!

    1. Ruth(playworkeatrepeat)

      Hi Claudia, yes the cover is plexiglass. From memory, one of my co-workers had it cut to fit the size of the lightbox. I think she visited a local company that did this. Haha! I really like the name of your cycling team!! 🙂

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