Playtime Pinspiration – Homemade light box

With the evenings drawing in, I’ve been planning a few activities for ToddlerGirl that explore light and dark as a theme. She really enjoyed it in particular when we turned the lights off between dinner and bedtime, so I decided that for this month’s Playtime Pinspiration I would have a go at making a homemade lightbox.

Playtime Pinspiration - Homemade lightbox

I’ve seen quite a few different activity ideas for lightboxes on Pinterest but I was largely ignoring them, thinking that it was something we would never have access to at home. Then I saw this great post from Happy Hooligans, all about creating an easy, low cost DIY lightbox. Just brilliant!

After mulling the idea over for a couple of weeks, I realised that we already had all the equipment we needed to test this out. I didn’t want to go shopping for anything at this stage as I wasn’t sure if it would be a hit with ToddlerGirl or not. But once I realised that I could scavenge all the items, I was ready to make my own.

I used:

  • A translucent plastic shoe storage box
  • A small LED battery powered camping light (we use ours in the shed!)

And that’s it! It really is such a quick and simple thing to make if you have the items to hand already – and it’s all very low cost if you need to buy any of them.

I added the LED light to the underside of the shoe box lid, as the lid isn’t translucent. I switched off the lights, flipped the box over and was amazed at how brightly the box was glowing. It wasn’t quite right, though, as the light was concentrated in one patch in the middle of the box. The Husband had the great idea of using a piece of kitchen paper over the light inside the box to diffuse it. This worked perfectly.

My lightbox made, I was impatient to try it out with ToddlerGirl. Hunting round the house for some materials to use, I realised that we don’t actually have that many things that would work on the lightbox: some plastic building blocks with transparent, coloured tops looked good but there wasn’t much we could do with them other than admire how the light shone through and made the colours really stand out.

After a little bit of thought, I rustled up some neon-type straws in orange, pink, green and yellow. These did look very striking on the lightbox and ToddlerGirl had fun examining them and rolling them around. The next day, I cut some of the straws into smaller pieces and we explored making some simple shapes with them: squares, triangles and rectangles. We finished off by making a couple of houses from squares and triangles, which ToddlerGirl was impressed with. We didn’t spend that long on the activity but it was a good time filler before bath and bed.

That’s all we’ve done so far but I’m really pleased. I personally love how the lightbox glows and how beautiful the colours are with the light shining through them. I don’t know if it’s all slightly advanced for ToddlerGirl but, now I’ve tested the theory that we can make a lightbox and seen that she is at least mildly interested in it, I’m going to spend a bit more time thinking of some fun experiments to do with it. (Back over to Pinterest again!) Even if it proves to be a bit beyond ToddlerGirl at the moment, I will definitely be keeping it in reserve for when she is older. I’ll keep you posted with any successes…

Thank you Happy Hooligans for your genius DIY lightbox!

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