Light-Bright Toy Fun!

In occupational therapy, we target the occupation of play in kids, making toys one of the main tools like a Lite Brite toy to support and drive development. Pediatric OTs love to foster development through innovative and meaningful activities in therapy interventions, and the Light Bright toy is one fun toy that sparks creativity and sensory motor skills.

Today, we shine a spotlight on an iconic toy that has captured the imagination of generations: the (Amazon affiliate link) Light Brite. Known for its mesmerizing glow and colorful pegs, this beloved occupational therapy toy has found a special place in occupational therapy practices as an effective tool for enhancing fine motor skills, visual motor skills, and finger dexterity in individuals of all ages.

Amazon affiliate links are included in this blog post. As an Amazon Influencer, I earn from qualifying purchases.

lite brite toy for occupational therapy

Using a Lite Brite Toy in Therapy

In this blog post, we will explore the Light Brite toy and unveil how its simple yet engaging design can be leveraged by occupational therapists to promote development and foster therapeutic progress. We will explore the unique qualities of Light Brite (affiliate link) that make it a valuable asset in the pursuit of improved motor skills and coordination.

From the manipulation of the pegs to the coordination of visual input and fine motor control, Light Brite offers a multifaceted approach to therapeutic intervention.

Many therapy providers have a Lite Brite (affiliate link) in the therapy closet, but did you ever consider all of the ways to use this toy to foster development?

Light Bright Activities

There are many ways to use a Lite Brite toy to target specific skills.

  1. Free Design Play: Encourage creativity by letting individuals create their own unique designs using the pegs and create vibrant, personalized artwork.
  2. Shape Recognition: Use templates or stencils to guide individuals in creating specific shapes, helping them develop shape recognition skills. This is an actiity that fosters visual discrimination.
  3. Sort the pegs: Sort the pegs by color and practice grouping them together on the Lite Brite board, enhancing color recognition abilities. This is a great sorting colors activity for preschoolers and toddlers.
  4. Fine Motor Skill Development: Manipulating the small pegs and inserting them into the board helps develop and refine fine motor skills. You can foster fine motor milestone achievement by targeting various levels of fine motor development by grading activities with the pegs.
  5. Hand-Eye Coordination: Practicing precise peg placement on the Lite Brite board enhances hand-eye coordination as individuals align their movements with visual targets.
  6. Pattern Replication: Introduce patterns or designs for individuals to replicate on the Lite Brite board, fostering pattern recognition and visual-motor coordination.
  7. Letter and Number Formation: Create educational activities by using Lite Brite templates to guide individuals in forming letters and numbers. Integrate the activities into other letter formation strategies.
  8. Spatial Skills: Explore spatial awareness concepts by creating designs with varying levels of complexity, promoting spatial understanding and manipulation skills.
  9. Counting and Math Skills: Use Lite Brite templates with numerical symbols or dots to engage individuals in counting, basic math operations, and number recognition. Fine motor and math are connected skills.
  10. Storytelling Tool: Use the Lite Brite board as a visual aid to accompany creative storytelling activities, allowing individuals to bring their stories to life through illuminated scenes.
  11. Graded precision: Utilize the pegs as a tool for various occupational therapy exercises, such as picking up and placing pegs to improve dexterity and finger strength. The pegs are a powerful tool in supporting graded grasp and release in dexterity.
  12. Sensory Exploration: Engage individuals with sensory processing needs by incorporating different textured materials onto the Lite Brite board, providing tactile stimulation.
  13. Pre-Writing Skills: Practice tracing shapes or letters on the Lite Brite board to promote pre-writing skills and hand control. One of the main pre-writing skills many kids don’t achieve is the fine motor aspect.
  14. Collaborative Projects: Foster teamwork and social interaction by engaging multiple individuals in creating a larger-scale Lite Brite design together, promoting cooperation and communication. This can be a fun activity for group OT sessions or across a whole caseload.

using pegs for fine motor skills

One of the main ways to support fine motor skills with a Lite Brite is by using the pegs.

Picking up and manipulating the pegs offers strategies for skill development:

  • Eye-hand coordination- picking up the desired colored peg
  • Graded grasp and release- Aiming the hand and fingers to select a peg and placing it into a hole with the correct aim and force
  • In-hand manipulation- Moving pegs from the fingertips to the palm to hold the pegs. Then, moving one peg at a time to the fingertips to place the pegs into the holes of the Lite Brite board
  • Separation of the sides of the hand- Using the fingers on the thumb side of the hand (radial side) while using the fingers on the pinky finger side of the hand (ulnar side) to stabilize the hand for precision
  • Finger isolation- Moving use one finger to isolate a single peg in picking up the peg or placing it into the board.

fine motor peg activities

Some fine motor peg activities that use the Lite Brite pegs include:

  1. Counting Game: Use three different colored pegs to play a counting game. Assign a specific number to each color, for example, red for one, blue for two, and yellow for three. Ask individuals to insert the pegs into the Lite Brite board, counting aloud as they go. They can create patterns or designs while practicing their counting skills.
  2. Force Modulation- work on the amount of pressure needed to press the peg into the Lite Brite board by using different grades of paper. Consider tissue paper or construction paper. Each type of paper requires more force to push the peg through the paper. Or, you can add more resistance by laying an additional piece of paper on the Lite Brite board.
  3. Color Patterns: Create a simple color pattern activity using three pegs. Start a pattern sequence using the three colors, such as red, blue, yellow, red, blue, yellow. Individuals can continue the pattern by inserting the corresponding colored pegs into the Lite Brite board. This activity helps develop pattern recognition and sequencing skills.


While the small pegs of a Lite Brite toy might not be a great way to use this toy with toddlers, you can use the toy to foster development with young children.

We AGAIN used the dishwasher box that has been sitting in our living room.

(One cardboard box is so much better than a whole storage bin of toys! Consider DIY cardboard bricks!)

This box has been everything from a rocket ship to a barn in their imaginary play.  It has been a corn cardboard sensory box, to a light tunnel for a Twinkle Twinkle little star party.  

We’ve covered it with blankets to make a bear cave, and put it on it’s end, cutting a door and window into one side for a house.  

After we cut the door into it, Baby Girl loved opening and shutting the door over and over and over again!

We used the Lite Brite in the cardboard box (without adding the pegs). It was a great sensory light that fostered many skills:

  • Crawling
  • Reach
  • Visual scanning
  • Intended reach (aiming)
  • Fine motor skills- making shadow puppets
  • Gross motor skills
  • Crossing midline
  • Tactile sensory play
  • Visual processing sensory play

This was one of Baby Girl‘s favorite games to play in the box.  We took the Light Bright toy inside and had a blast checking out the lights, putting her hand over the light screen, touching the circle lights on the wall…

What a great sensory experience!

We’ll definitely be using the light bright again for sensory play.  Poor box has seen the end of it’s time in our living room…There was a liiiiittttle rough play that destroyed it.  Don’t worry, though. It will be used for some great art projects before it makes its way into the recycle bin!

Working on fine motor skills, visual perception, visual motor skills, sensory tolerance, handwriting, or scissor skills? Our Fine Motor Kits cover all of these areas and more.

Check out the seasonal Fine Motor Kits that kids love:

Or, grab one of our themed Fine Motor Kits to target skills with fun themes:

Want access to all of these kits…and more being added each month? Join The OT Toolbox Member’s Club!

Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to


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lite brite toy in occupational therapy

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