DIY Light Table Numbers

As part of my continuing number focus with Monkey, our first was a Simple Counting Activity,  I decided to make some numbers which we can use on the light table. You can buy plastic versions of these but since I had all the materials at home and I was feeling in a crafty mood I decided to give it a go myself. You can make these easily in about an hour, probably quicker if you aren’t trying to watch The Great British Bake Off at the same time!

DIY Light table numbers

You will need:

  • Number templates – I opted for the large ones on First Palette you can find them at First Palette
  • Sharpie
  • Coloured cellophane
  • Scissors
  • Laminator and sheets

DIY Light table numbers

The only tricky part is cutting the cellophane, at first I thought I would cut around the numbers but realised that was a bit fiddly. It was far simpler to use a sharpie to trace the number and then cut! Also because the cellophane was static it meant it stuck to the paper easily.

IMG_3867

Once cut the trick is to get them into the laminating sheet without turned over edges – takes a little patience…

DIY Light table numbers

We decided to use ours with Monkey’s favourite light table accessory – water beads! He loves them, I don’t blame him really as they are very tactile and feel great between little fingers. These ones are on their fourth use and I was impressed by how well they have held up.

IMG_3882

If you have not come across them before they are traditionally meant for cut flowers to add colour and interest to vases. They start life as tiny little solid balls that absorb water and swell to around marble size. I should also say now that I only introduced Monkey to water beads once he had stopped mouthing everything and he could understand they do not go in his mouth. These are definitely a choking hazard and they are synthetic so would not be good for your little one if they swallowed them! Please be aware of this. Even now I will not leave him unattended with water beads.

The water beads need to go into soak in tap water around 12 hours before you need them. I say around as I have done it the night before and used them in the morning which is only about 8 hours. It just means the less time you leave them in the less time they have to soak up the water and grow. In some ways the smaller they are the harder they are so less likely to get crushed by small hands – they are stronger when less saturated. However they are an ideal sensory play material as they are very tactile – even as an adult there is something about them.  It is possible to reuse them by letting them dry out completely before storing and then re-soaking them. I buy ours from amazon and they come in a wide variety of colours.

Monkey used the water beads to count the numbers out, placing them in clear tumblers:

DIY Light table numbers

He did really well with this and asked to move onto other numbers. He always gravitates towards the blue water beads so we decided to make a number with the blue numbers only. He needed a lot of help but we counted out 49 blue water beads.

DIY Light table numbers

Once he started to loose interest in the numbers, he wanted to sort the beads into different colours in the cups. We have left this out to play with tomorrow, the water beads will keep him coming back and hopefully with the numbers included in the play it will help with his recognition.

Have you any great ideas for light table resources?

Mudpie xx

LarabeeUK
what katy said

27 Comments

  1. Tanita

    This is fantastic thank you so much for sharing it looks like
    So much fun and of course children learn so much better when they are playing and having fun! I’m sharing this post as I defy array think lots of mums could really use this such a great idea. I’m going to look into getting a light box xx

  2. Becky, Cuddle Fairy

    What a fab idea! I am so impressed he counted up to 49! I haven’t heard of water beads before. You always have the best educational crafts! x

  3. Katie (Growing Up KaterTot)

    Wow!! I absolutely LOVE the water bead idea! I never thought to use those for hands-on learning. I’m going to buy some ASAP! I have a feeling my daughter will really enjoy using them to practice counting. Fantastic use of the light table. You’re just so creative! xx

  4. Lukeosaurus And Me

    I’ve always wanted to make a light table and do some fun activities with Luke, but I’ve never had a clue where to start! The numbers look awesome, your crafty skills really paid off. I’ve never used water beads either, although I do keep meaning to buy some. They look like so much fun and I know Luke would love them! Ray xx #ToddlerApprovedTuesday

  5. Harps

    Your posts and crafts ideas always make me feel excited for when Arjun grows up – usually the thought of him getting bigger depresses me! Love this idea especially as it’s educational too. Thanks for linking up #babybrainmonday x

  6. Kim

    Thank you for sharing this at #made4kids! I love this activity! I keep seeing water bead activities that look like so much fun! They are definitely on my list to try with my kids.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.