This DIY Light Box was something I’ve seen around Pinterest and have wanted to try for a while…Once we had our Christmas lights outside, I thought we would definitely be doing this project after we pulled all of the lights back in. So, after we brought the Christmas lights in from the outside bushes, this was easy to put together for a cold evening’s play!
I put all of the (already bundled-up) strands of Christmas lights
…seriously, this does not get much easier :)…
into an under-the-bed storage bin,
connected the strands,
and plugged in!
Once you put the top on, it is perfect for tracing pictures!
This is so great for new (or seasoned) hand-writers. They are working on pencil control, line awareness, hand-eye coordination…and end up with a super cool horse picture they can be proud of!
Big Sister LOOOOVED doing this! And, I have to say, that she was doing the tracing thing for so long, that we had to turn the lights off because the bin was getting warm.
We went around the house looking for cool things to place on top of the bin. Magnetic letters looked really neat with the light glowing through…Baby Girl had a lot of fun playing with this.
What a great learning tool…Shapes:
Letter Identification, spelling words:
Color and sensory discrimination:
…All in a new and fun manner! We had a lot of fun with this, but have since put our Christmas lights back up into the attic. We will be sure to do this one again next year, once the lights come back out again 🙂
Please: if you do make one of these light boxes, keep an adult eye on it, as the box did warm up…not to burning warmth, but I would worry about the lights becoming over heated. This is NOT something that kids should play with unsupervised!
Let’s cover a few different directional concepts; This over, under, around, and through activity for preschool is a spatial relations concept. These positional concepts are an important part of preschool development.
Teaching Directional Concepts: Over, Under, Around, and Through
Learning Spatial Concepts during play
One rainy pre-Halloween day, I had an idea to bring a pumpkin into our play. We were going to play a game teaching Spatial Concepts.
What are spatial concepts??
It’s those direction/spatial relationship/preposition words that tell you where something is related to something else… you know… beside, in front of, behind, over, under, around, through, last, etc.
These are great concepts to teach to preschoolers.
Positional concepts are especially important in pre-handwriting. Once they begin handwriting, kids are taught line awareness, placement of letters on the top/middle/bottom lines, how to move over a space between words, how the “y” has a tail that hangs below the bottom line…So many times, a messy hand-writer is showing problems with spatial organization and concepts.
Spatial concepts and directional terms are also important in teaching shoe tying…BIG need for understanding “AROUND the loop”, “push the lace THROUGH with your thumb”)…
They can begin learning these concepts by discovering where their bodies are in relationship to objects.
We pulled the couch cushions off of the couches and set up tunnels, bridges (cushion over a blanket…use that imagination!), and obstacles.
My kids love the couch cushions…There are definitely days that we use the couch cushions more on the floor than we do actually on the couches.
I started singing to them, “Where is pumpkin? Where is pumpkin? Here I am, THROUGH the tunnel!” to the tune of Where is Thumbkin, and changing the last line depending on where the pumpkin was that time.
Teaching Over, Under, Around, and Through
You totally don’t need to use a pumpkin for this…you could use a stuffed animal, action figure, apple…whatever would spark your child’s interest!
We changed it up after a bit. And for something different, I would tell them to first go over the bridge, then go around the cushion wall, then go through the tunnel.
They loved going over, under, around, and through obstacles to get to where the pumpkin was. And then making up their own sequence to get to the pumpkin.
Baby Girl just enjoyed going over cushions.
Pretend Play with Spatial Concepts
Big Sister and Little Guy decided to change the game into a pumpkin patch, complete with a cushion “tractor” to take them to the pumpkin patch and some stuffed animal “kids” to join them.
The stuffed kids got to ride the tractor…
And go into the pumpkin patch.
And pay for their pumpkins with “coins”.
Real-world application of the spatial concepts we learned???
“Cuddles the Bear gets to go in the pumpkin patch in front of Puppy, because she is pink, and that’s good manners”.
More Preschool Spatial Learning Activities
Want to continue the spatial concept learning with your preschooler?
Add music…Sing and act out “Over the river and through the woods”, “Going on a bear hunt”, and “The bear went over the mountain”.
Grab a basket or container of any kind. Toddlers love putting things “in”/taking them “out”. Add more complexity for bigger kids by adding multi-step directions. “Take 5 steps forward, go under the chair, then crawl around the blanket”.
Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20+ years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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