Light can be a fascinating thing and children just seem to attract to it. Whether it is shadows on the wall or how the sunlight is spraying across an item, it can draw a child’s attention and can stir an interest. Crafts or play time involving light can be great sensory and just plain old fun. Now children are always playing with technology and fun with light can be a way to get your child away from that. To explore all the fun things you can do with light, we found 8 activities that can provide sensory and a break from screen time.
This first activity is mason jar fairy lights. All you need is a clean glass jar, glow in the dark paint, and paint brushes. Have your child pick out one or a few paint colors to paint the jar with. Next, you just paint dots onto the inside of the jar, alternating colors and dot sizes. Your child may not be able to help with this step, but you can always include them by asking them to direct you in color changes and dot sizes. After your or the child are done painting, let it dry in the sunlight or under a light bulb. This will activate the glow in the dark paint. Turn off all the house lights and enjoy the fairy light with your child!
Color and light discovery bottles can be a craft that continues to be fun even after the craft part is done. All you need is a good empty bottle (with a large enough mouth to fit the tealights through), acrylic crystal diamond confetti table scatter, color changing submersible LED tealight, and clear packing tape. Your child can help fill up the bottle with some crystal diamonds and then a tealight. Continue to fill it up with diamonds and tealights until it is full. Make sure the lights are on as you fill it. After, you can screw on the bottle cap and then using clear tape, tape around the cap to secure it on tight.
Sensory bags can provide great entertainment to little ones. To make it a fun light craft, just tape it to the window at child height. This sensory bag is a water bead one and is super simple to make. All you need is colored water beads, a large zip lock bag, and duct tape. Fill the bag with the water beads and then tape along the sides of the bag onto the window. The light going through the beads make the beads look like they are glowing. Let your child feel the water beads through the bag; a great window sensory bag.
A shadow box is a little more work to make, but can provide hours of entertainment. For this activity, you will need a large cardboard box, duct tape, a box cutter, and parchment paper. You will also need various materials to make little figures (people, animals, etc.). Your child can make the figures and they may need a little help from an adult. To make the box, cut the flops off the top of the box and then tape out the frame on the bottom of the box. Then you can cut the frame from the bottom of the box. The final step is to tape the parchment paper over the frame on the inside of the box. Your child can decorate the box as they please. After everything is done, grab a flashlight to shine into the box and then the fun with light and shadows can begin!
The 5th activity is glowing ice cubes. This activity can provide good sensory and some fun on a hot day. Just grab an ice cube tray, tonic water with quinine in it, a dark room or box, and a black UV light. Pour the tonic water into the ice tray and freeze. Your child can periodically check on the ice cubes to see the process. After they are frozen, dump the tray into a dark box and have your child shine the light onto the ice cubes. Watch the ice cubes glow and have some fun.
With some tissue paper, contact paper, construction paper, and scissors, your child can make stain glass art. You can cut out a frame with the construction paper and then stick it onto the contact paper to frame out the “glass”. You can either cut the tissue paper into squares or have your child tear it into pieces. Have them place it onto the contact paper to make the stain glass. The final step is to tape it onto a window where the sun can shine through it. This will give it a stained glass effect.
Light tables can be expensive to buy, but you actually can make your own easily and at low cost. We found an article that showed how to make one, step-by-step. You can read the article by clicking here. You will need a clear storage bin, white tissue paper, clear tape, string of holiday lights, and possibly an extension cord. All you have to do is tape the tissue paper onto the inside of the lid and then string the holiday lights around the inside of the box. The cord will dangle out of the box and you may be able to close the lid all the way or just leave a little gap. Let your child play with transparent materials on top of the lid!
The finally light activity we found is coffee filter art. This is a simple, low-maintenance art craft. It can be done in many ways, but this site calls for color dabbers. To make a tye-dye coffee filter, fold over the filter a few times and then let your child use the dabbers on it. After your child is done, open it up to show them the results. Let it dry and then hang it on a sunny window.
There are so many crafts and activities you can do with light and it can create a great learning or sensory project for your child. Let your child make art to hang on windows or create a light table to play on. Fairy lights and discovery bottles that light up can also have a calming effect on children. We hope that one or a few of these activities can work in your home or at least inspire other light ideas. We would love to hear how you and your child have fun with light; please submit them through a comment.