Bright DIY Light Table Fort Ideas Make Learning Fun

Posted August 13, 2017 by Fort Magic

One of the biggest challenges and adventures of having children is constantly trying to find ways to make learning more fun. From learning their letters and numbers all the way through high school, persuading your children that learning can be enjoyable is an ongoing struggle.

Thankfully, there are many tools available to help you. One of the most versatile and fun tools is a light table. As with many learning tools and opportunities, light tables pair wonderfully with forts to offer an immersive, interactive learning environment that will keep your children entertained for hours!

diy light table

What is a Light Table?

Light tables are, simply put, tables with a clear glass (or plastic) top with lights under them. When the lights are on, the top of the table glows, providing a translucent area for work or play. Some artists and designers use them for a variety of stenciling or tracing tasks, but they are also fantastic for learning and play!

You can purchase light tables online, with some versions costing a few hundred dollars, or you can make a DIY one for much cheaper. Here are a few ideas for DIY light tables:

– A clear plastic box with a lid, lined with wax paper. Place a string of white Christmas lights inside of the box. This makes the perfect light table if you want something mobile. For kids who like to move around the house, or even if they want to bring it with them to a friend’s house, this is a great option. It’s lightweight and inexpensive.

– Repurpose an old coffee table by replacing the top with tempered glass or plexiglass and running strings of LED lights underneath. If you already have an old table on hand, or if you want to look for one at local secondhand stores and yard sales, this could be a great option. If you are all right with the table staying in one spot, and you’re willing to use a little more elbow grease, then this might work for you!

Light Table Play 1

Play and Learn with Light Tables

So, now that you have your light table all set up and ready, how do you help your child learn and play with it? As you may have guessed, the options are as limitless as your imagination–and your child’s! Here are a few ideas to help you get started, though:

– Anything translucent is perfect for the light table play. That can be blocks, shapes, letters, magnets and anything else you can find. Browse the aisles of your local craft supply store and see what sort of plastic shapes you can find.

– One of the most popular crafts right now is making slime from a combination of white school glue, Borax and other ingredients. Find some ideas online for making your own slime, then let your kids have a slimy good time playing with it on top of their light table!

Light Table Play 2

– For younger kids, sensory play is fantastic and works perfectly with a light table. Spread shaving cream on the top and let them trace shapes, designs, and letters into the cream.

Water beads are so much fun! They’re squishy, colorful, translucent, and bouncy. The options for learning are endless. Count them, sort them by color, use spoons to sort them into bowls and work on fine motor skills. Watch as they grow and shrink when they are in and out of water.

– Set up an art station on the light table. Let your children color and paint with watercolors on thin paper, like butcher’s paper, over the lights. It also helps them with tracing designs. Try using crayons on wax paper to make sun catchers for the windows of your home.

Light Table Play 3

Light Tables and Forts

Your fort is the perfect place for light table fun! Try out some of these fun ideas with your children:

Build a blackout fort. After building the fort, cover it with thick blankets or anything that isn’t see-through: cardboard, thick paper, and other materials might work too. Turn out all the lights in the room, close any blinds and draw any curtains. Then, illuminate your light table. This will make the effect of the light table even more noticeable, and any play on it even more fun!

Set up an art fort. Prepare your fort for all sorts of creativity and art by bringing in any art supplies needed: paper, crayons, watercolors with brushes, scissors and anything else your children might need.

Light Table Play 4

These are just a few of the ways that light tables and forts can go together. Explore this new, fun way to learn with your children, and let their imaginations run wild. The sky’s the limit! Check out all our fort designs for ways to personalize their light table fort, then get to work!

Light Table Play 5

How do you use light tables with forts? Share your ideas with us below!


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Photo Credits:

Epic Childhood Blog: A wonderful family blog about everyday fun and educational activities inspired by play based learning, learning through play, enriched outdoor play, and creative play.

The Artful Parent Blog: One of our absolute favorite creative blogs for children and families.  The Artful Parent blog is filled with simple ideas to fill your family’s life with art and creativity.  A must see blog for sure.