Posted by on Jan 16, 2013 in Activities for Spelling, Light Table, Literacy Activities, Painting, Science Activities | 0 comments

Since visiting the Spark Science Centre, I thought it would be a lot of fun for the boys to have their own light table to experiment with at home. It wasn’t until we were reorganizing our basement, and getting rid of some clear plastic tubs, that I was actually inspired to make one. I came up with a simple design and soon after, as I was congratulating myself on my clever ingenuity, I decided to Google ‘DIY Light Table’… my ego was instantly deflated. Evidently I was not the only one to come up with this brilliant plan, as you can see here, and here (just to highlight a couple). Haha! Oh well, it was still a HUGE hit with my little bugs 🙂


  • a clear plastic storage bin with a clear lid
  • parchment paper
  • tape (I used masking tape because it seems to stick better)
  • tin foil or shiny foil wrapping paper (I had some left over from Christmas)
  • battery operated lights (I purchased a pack of six LED button lights from Costco, which will also come in handy when we go camping, so I didn’t mind splurging a bit)

How to Make a Light Table

Okay, so it’s not so much a ‘table’ as it is a plastic storage bin, but the idea is the same 😉

Light Table

First, I covered the inside of our clear storage bin with foil wrapping paper, to reflect the light upwards (you can also use tin foil).

Light Table

Next, I taped some parchment paper onto the underside of the clear lid, to help diffuse the light.

Light Table

Then I placed the LED button lights into the bottom of our storage bin and we were ready to experiment!


Experimenting With Our Light Table

There are so many fun and interesting things you can do to experiment with the effect light has on objects/ substances. Here are some of the things we tried with our light table today:


I gave the boys some thawed Freezies to put on the light table so they could see how light travels through a liquid.

Light Table


Finger Painting

The bugs LOVED this! It was messy, but clean-up was a breeze.  

Light Table

I squirted some non-toxic, tempera paint directly onto the plastic lid for the boys to do some finger painting.

Light Table

Mixing colours  

Light Table

I’m glad I decided to take their shirts off before painting! Look at little B’s tummy all splattered with paint!


Magnetic Letters/ Word Work

Light Table

We started with the word ‘cat’.

Light Table

Then M wanted to spell the word ‘whale’. I think he did pretty good with his inventive spelling.

Light Table

Here’s M spelling the word ‘dino’.


I can tell we will be using our light table a lot more in the days ahead! The boys really enjoyed it (especially the painting).

And that’s how I kept my bugs busy today!