Free play with loose parts on the light table!
We do a lot of light table activities throughout the week (especially in the winter) but I’ve gotten a few emails from people wondering what we do with our light table when we aren’t doing some sort of planned activity.
So here it is: loose parts play!Affiliate links provided for your convenience, please disclosure for more info.
If we’re not doing a planned or themed activity on our light panel then it’s usually available for free play with loose parts and toys. Our light table stays out at all times and the kids can access as they please. I keep have a basket of rotating loose parts near the light table so that the girls can choose to use and create with them as they want to.
Our light play loose parts basket currently has:
- Reusable Ice Cubes (We have both cubes and stars. The stars I bought at Walmart)
- Jewelry links (Dollar Tree)
- Translucent Test Tube Shot Glasses
- Translucent Cocktail Stirrers (ours were found at a local party store)
- Square Mosaic Tiles
I don’t generally confine toys to certain areas so occasionally the kids put other toys (like the dollhouse pieces or animals) and blocks on the light table. I will say I’d be hesitant of the wooden blocks being used on it if we didn’t have a DIY cover that my husband made to protect it from overexcited little ones. He made it from wood and Plexiglas and it prevents our light table from getting broken under our heavy use.
What is Loose Parts Play?
If you’re not familiar with the theory of loose parts it’s a very simple concept. It’s simply open-ended play with materials that the children can move, adapt, manipulate, and redesign in multiple ways. Loose parts are materials that do not have any specific uses or instructions, allowing children to use their imaginations and creativity to create whatever they want.
On the outside it may just look like a simple activity or even a disorganized mess to some but there are lots skills being used and formed with this simple open-ended play.
Beginning math with patterns and sequencing:
Color matching and sorting:
Fine motor skills and critical thinking:
The play and learning with loose parts is endless, their play can go on and on as far as their imagination can take them! I love watching all the creating and exploring that goes on when they play with loose parts. I’m always amazed at the things they can come up with!
Materials for Loose Parts Play on the Light Table:
- Translucent Beads
- Reusable Ice Cubes
- Jewelry links (Dollar Tree)
- Test Tube Shot Glasses
- Colored Plastic Cups
- Sea Glass
- Cocktail Stirrers
- Mosaic Tiles
- Overhead pattern blocks
- Acrylic Diamonds & Jewels
- Seasonal Acrylic Table Scatter
- Plus lots more…
(^Many of the items above can also be found at the Dollar tree or your local craft stores)
What are your favorite loose parts materials to use on the light table?
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