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  • Writer's pictureOur Playful Learning Journey

10 Easy Play Ideas for Kids Using a Light Table/Panel

Updated: Jun 5, 2023

Colourful and fun invitations to explore light, colour and more on a light table or light panel.

light panel/table play ideas for kids. Bauspiel blocks and lucite cubes on the light panel

Light tables/panels are such a terrific resource to explore, play and learn about light, colour and much more. They bring a sense of wonder and awe to a space, inviting a child to discover, create and learn through play.

⭐️Important for safety - these play ideas are recommended for children ages 3+ as they contain small parts which can be a choking hazard. All these play ideas weee supervised by an adult. Please ensure all play with a light panel is supervised by an adult.

Our Light Panel

Our light panel is A3 in size and I bought it a couple of years ago from Educating Kids when it was on special. They regularly have their light panels on sale, so keep an eye out if you are looking for one. I was inspired to buy a light panel for home after seeing great ideas on Instagram and on Pinterest for Reggio inspired learning.

The Toddle Way light panels that fit in the Flisat sensory table from IKEA look amazing too (I haven't tried one). They are A2 size, which is a great surface for play. If you have a bigger budget, this might be a great option.

A light panel or light table is a 'nice to have item' for play and learning. They can be quite expensive. There are lots of DIY options out there using fairy lights or similar. A quick search on Google or Instagram should help you to find some examples.

After buying our light panel, it wasn’t really used much. I have made of an effort lately to get it our regularly and set it up for the girls to explore. They do always enjoy it when it is out. From our play at home, we have used the following ideas for light panel play.

Here are 10 play ideas that we have used to explore

and invite play on the light panel:

Colour Matching on the Light Panel

This was a quick and easy play idea using our light panel.

I added in the following:

  • Rainbow coloured transparent blocks (ours are Tickit brand)

  • Bauspiel window blocks

  • Bauspiel lucite cubes

The window and coloured blocks look beautiful by themselves on the light panel. They also look beautiful when used in the sunlight.

The lucite cubes matched perfectly with the blocks, for a fun colour matching activity.

Colour matching on the light panel play idea for kids using rainbow blocks and lucite cubes.
Colour matching on the light panel is a fun way to explore the resources.

Light panel play idea for kids using rainbow blocks and lucite cubes.
Baskets of blocks next to the light panel allow the child to explore, create and build.

Sand Tray on the Light Panel

This is such a fun way to use the light panel. This idea was inspired by @play_at_home_mummy on Instagram.

You will need:

  • Clear container - this one is from Kmart Australia in the kitchen section

  • Sand - can be coloured or plain. This pink sand was from Officeworks.

  • Paintbrush to make marks

Invite your child to explore by making marks, drawing or writing in the sand using the paint brush. It looks so beautiful with the light shining through and is lots of fun too!

Light panel play idea for kids using a sand tray for drawing and writing.
The sand tray is perfect for drawing pictures and writing letters in.

Light panel play idea for kids using a sand tray for mark making.
Mark making is lots of fun on the light panel as the light shines through.

Exploring Beads on the Light Panel

This started as an invitation to create on the light panel using loose parts and a frame and ended up turning into small world imaginative play.

We used:

  • Lid of our loose parts box from Nesk Kids. A photo frame would work too or a clear container.

  • Bowls of loose parts - beads, lucite cubes, transparent shells etc.

This invitation prompted some great learning with it turning into an exploration of the beads and a discussion about how some are transparent and some are not. The little fairies ended up opening a bead factory where they sorted the beads, removing all the non-transparent ones. A wonderful example of learning through play!

Light panel play idea for kids, creating with loose parts on the light panel.
An invitation to create with loose parts

Light panel play idea for kids - creating with translucent loose parts.
Creating loose parts art on the light panel with transparent resources.

Light panel play ideas for kids using beads on the light panel.
This became a fairy bead sorting factory.

Translucent Pebbles

These pebbles are another fun resource to use on the light panel. They are called transparent pebbles and the brand is Edex. Great for colour sorting, matching and making creations. We added in a mirror to add to the magic as the reflections looked so pretty too!

Light panel play idea for kids - exploring translucent pebbles on the light panel
Exploring translucent pebbles on the light panel.

Mindful Play Mats + Loose Parts

Another fun way to create on the light panel is with some magnetic chips and gemstones, which are transparent and our free printable mindfulness mats.

Here the girls enjoyed decorating the rainbow and the flower printables. These are just printed on normal white copy paper. Print A4 size or enlarge to A3 for a bigger template.

You can get your free copy of the mindfulness mats here.

Light panel play ideas for kids. Decorate the rainbow with loose parts.
Loose parts rainbow on the light panel.

Light panel play idea for kids - fill the flower printable with loose parts
Fill the flower mindful play mat on the light panel.

DIY Shapes

This is a fun, easy and inexpensive way to make some resources for your light panel. These shapes look really pretty on the light panel. You can get your kids involved in making them too.

Light panel play idea for kids - make your own diy shapes
These shapes are easy to make for the light panel.

It is easy to make your own shapes for the light panel by cutting some coloured kite paper into the shapes that you desire, laminating the shapes that you cut out to make them more durable and then cutting them out again. We bought our paper online from Oskars Wooden Ark.

Light panel play idea for kids colour and shape matching
Matching shapes and colours on the light panel.

Sensory Play - Chickpea Tray

For some fun sensory play, just add a tray to your light panel.

Here we used:

  • Clear plastic slice tray/container from the kitchen

  • Chickpeas

  • Magnetic counters

  • Magnetic wand

  • Beads

Light panel play idea for kids using a sensory tray with chickpeas and magnetic chips.
This tray was a fun way to explore light, colour and magnetism.

Chickpea and magnetic chip sensory play tray for kids on the light panel
Lots of fun was had finding and catching the magnetic chips.

Magnetic chips and chickpea sensory tray play on a light panel for kids
The magnetic chips looked pretty on the light panel.

Magnetic Tiles on the Light Panel

Another great resource for the light panel is magnetic tiles. They are so many possibilities for play and learning using these on the light panel.

Our magnetic tiles are Connetix brand. In the photo below they are being used for colour matching with some Bauspiel lucite cubes.

Light panel play idea for kids - Connetix magnetic tiles and lucite cubes colour exploration.
Exploring colours on the light panel.

Exploring magnetism with the magnetic tiles and magnetic chips. Learning that the chips only stick along the edges where the magnets are.

Light panel play ideas for kids exploring magnetic chips and magnetic tiles.
Exploring magnets on the light panel.

Small World Play on the Light Panel

A fun way to play with the light panel is to add some animal figurines and loose parts for your child to explore and create their own small world.

Here the girls used lucite cubes, Connetix magnetic tiles, and some pebbles to create a little small world. They enjoyed playing with their animal figurines on here. The light gives an inviting and magical feel to the small world play.

Small world play on the light panel for kids.
Small world play is lots of fun on the light panel.

Building Blocks on the Light Panel

Simple building fun! Just add some colourful blocks to the light panel to create beautiful looking buildings.

These rainbow transparent blocks can be bought from many places and look great on the light panel.

Quick, easy to set up and lots of fun to play with!

Light panel play ideas for kids - building with rainbow blocks on the light pad.
Building with rainbow blocks on the light pad makes pretty creations.


10 Play Ideas for Kids on the Light Panel

A light panel or table is a fantastic resource to add wonder and awe to your space. There are many possibilities for exploring light, colour, transparent materials and so much more.

I hope you found some inspiration for different resources and ways to play using a light panel.

Until next time, have fun learning in a playful way!

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