Exploring Light | Day 17 – 30 Days to TYP

Exploring Light - 30 Days to Transform Your Play {An Everyday Story

Exploring Light - 30 Days to Transform Your Play {An Everyday Story}Exploring Light - 30 Days to Transform Your Play {An Everyday Story

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Day 17 in our 30 Days to Transform Your Play and we are talking about light. What is the fascination with light though? Light panels can be quite an investment and OHP are difficult to come by. I wondered the same thing before I bought our light panel.

This video changed it all for me; The Ray of Light Atelier in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Children, wide-eyed, full of awe and wonder; experimenting, testing and projecting light across the room. Manipulating shadows, creating reflections, making rainbows and experiencing light in new ways. I bought our light panel about three years ago and from the moment it arrived, I have never regretted my purchase. 

Whenever people come to play and I have the light panel or OHP out, even the adults are drawn to the light; wanting to explore, wanting to create, the movements of colour are mesmerising.

Light changes colours and create shadows, light emphasises shape and form, light moves and floods a room. In exploring light, children create new ideas and new understandings; they ask questions and test theories. And exploring light is oh so much fun.

Ways of Exploring Light:

Natural Light:

  • collect a basket of reflective materials and place them outside in the morning sun. Experiment with catching the light and making different shapes on a wall
  • gather together a basket of differently shaped mirrors (you can buy them cheaply from bargain stores), place them in a beam of light and watch as the sun reflects onto the ceiling. Place some transparent coloured loose parts (laminated cellophane works beautifully) and some solid materials near the mirrors and invite your child to make different patterns on the ceiling
  • window blocks project colours beautifully in natural light
  • create rainbows using small crystals (I picked up quite a few from Top Bargain dollar store)

Artificial Light:

On a light panel:

On the Overhead Projector

  • create mandalas and mosaics with transparent materials
  • create shadow plays
  • create designs with differently patterned laces
  • with a large piece of paper, sketch the projected patterns
  • provide transparent materials (like coloured plastic cups or coloured dice) for building
  • create new colours using laminated pieces of primary-coloured cellophane
  • a tray of shallow coloured salt and a thin brush creates beautiful projections
  • project colours and shadows using window blocks

You don’t need a light panel to create inviting explorations for your child. There are many DIY versions around the place using a flat-topped plastic container. LED light ropes are also very intriguing, as are torches and LED candles. And we can’t forgot the beauty and wonder of natural light; drawing shadows, dancing in glittering rainbows, simple and engaging.


  • Considering your child’s interests and how they like to play, what kind of light exploration could you create for your child?
  • Gather together some reflective materials, some small mirrors if you have some to create an exploration using natural light

Come and share your set-up on Facebook or on Instagram using #30daystyp

If you missed a post, here’s the rest of the series.

Don’t forget to check out Rachel’s posts on Racheous – Lovable Learning


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4 Replies to “Exploring Light | Day 17 – 30 Days to TYP”

  1. Laminated cellophane!! What a great, simple idea! Thank you for this, and so many other ideas. With three little ones, I don’t often get time to post, but we are loving this series.

  2. Could you share what size your light panel is? And maybe where you got it?

  3. Lisa Beeke says:

    Again…I appreciate your ideas and creativity. Thank you.

  4. Lisa Beeke says:

    Hi…I came up with an idea for a light panel…I purchased a Lite Brite from a garage sale and set it in a box face up. I place white tissue and a plastic sheet over the panel to prevent leaks and such from getting into the light bulb cavity. It’s all systems go with the children on Tuesday.

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