Saturday, September 22, 2012

Our New Light Table

The children were absolutely mesmerized when we set up and plugged in our new light table this week. I have dreamed about getting a light table for our classroom since seeing them in Reggio inspired child care facilities a couple of years ago.

Since the Full Day Kindergarten program promotes play based learning and inquiry there is very little photocopying that we do as a team. Each month I copy a newsletter and calendar, but other than that we don't copy much at all! Our principal allowed us to the money that we were alloted to photocopy to purchase the new light table.

This is the table that we purchased:

It was reasonably priced (about $200 with shipping). We have only had it set up for a week but so far I really like to size of it (not too big, not as small as a table top one). We have set it up in our book nook as a quiet and calm activity which will allow the children to have somewhere peaceful to be artistic.

The children immediately filled the light table with our glass jewels when we turned it on. They were fascinated and experimented with clear vs. darker jewels noticing which ones shone light through and which ones didn't.

I left and watched the children from across the room as they excitedly created a picture together. When I returned they had used green jewels to make grass, blue jewels for the sky and then tiny flowers using different colours. The made a large sun using the yellow jewels too.

They continued to add jewels and then decided on a title "Love". They used the jewels to write the word LOVE across the top of the light table. Inspired by the idea of writing using the jewels one of our younger students who had been watching the others create this picture, got her name card and slowly began to build her name on the floor using the jewels. It was really quite beautiful to see her without any interaction observing her peers and then taking initiative in her play.
I always find it intriguing how adding one child to a group can change the play so dramatically. Another girl came over to see what the children were doing on the light table. She told them how beautiful their starfish was. The children were confused as she pointed to the sun. "No, that's a sun!" they shared.
"Let's make it an ocean, I love it underwater".
Quickly, the children removed all of the jewels except for the sun/starfish.
When I returned to see their progress I was again impressed by the incredible oral language of the children and the rich conversations that they were having.
One girl explained that she used the dark colour jewels in the middle because deep water is darker. Another girl made a clam with a pearl inside and explained to the other children that clams have jewelry in them. They added bigger jewels because at the bottom of the ocean is lots of treasure! The girls chatted and sang songs from the Little Mermaid revealing that a lot of their knowledge of the ocean had come from the Disney cartoon.
On day one of using our light table, I would say that we are well on our way to incredible learning opportunities and rich assessment. I am really excited to continue to explore the light table with the children!


  1. Your post inspired me to search for my own light table, and I am in the process of making my own! Can't wait to bring it to school and see how it inspires the children during their play.

  2. Tracy thanks for the comment, so glad you were inspired! I hope that your children find it as magical as our do - it really is a great thing to have in the classroom!

  3. We are very interested in buying this light table for our school too. Where do you buy the 4 prism light bulbs?

  4. I am not sure where to get the bulbs, my thoughts are either at a lighting store or online?

    Our bulbs have not yet needed to be changed. We have had the tables for a couple of years! So that is a great plus for this model!

  5. Did the table come with the lights to make it work? The description is super vague!