Switching up your child’s sensory exploration can be as easy as adding in a light table. The finite details of flowers and plants pop against the glow of a light table, creating the perfect science sensory activity. Investigating flowers on the light table is a fabulous way to use children’s sensory perceptions to deepen their learning.
Jennifer from Study at Home Mama is joining us today to share her recent sensory meets science activity, exploring botany for kids on a light table. You’re going to love this science sensory activity.
This post is part of the Sensory Summer series, hosted by The Jenny Evolution in partnership with The Sensory Spectrum. I encourage you to follow us all summer and visit our Sensory Summer landing page to get the latest sensory fun for your kiddos! This post contains affiliate links.
Light tables are an amazing learning tool because when you engage one sense more than another, it allows children’s minds to build different – and deeper – understandings of what they’re learning.
If you’ve ever noticed how a specific scent is tied to a memory, or how you remember certain font colors long after you’ve seen an advertisement, these are perfect examples of how stimulating one sense can increase one’s ability to remember information.
We are lucky enough to have a real light table in our home because I run a Montessori preschool, but there are many fabulous DIY options out there — we even started off with a homemade light box to see how we liked using light in our sensory play.
If you did not have access to either option, you could place your plant in a clear page protector and tape it up against a bright window (or even hold it up against a lamp – with adult supervision).
Materials to Prepare:
- If using a light table, cover the surface with saran wrap to prevent dirt from creeping into the edges or scratching the table’s surface
- Place some magnifying glasses nearby
- Supervise your child’s selecting “wild flowers or weeds” from the yard. Yup, I definitely sent my daughter out while I was cleaning up from lunch and was greeted with this selection from my garden!
We started off without the magnifying glasses, just identifying the parts of the plant that we remembered.
Next, we incorporated the magnifying glasses to take a deeper look at our plant. It was really cool getting up close to all of those intricate plant structures and making slow, careful observations.
Seeing the roots still encased in soil was really thought provoking for Miss G, who expected them to be separated and not as interconnecting. Because of my psychology background, I felt the need to add that the brain is connected in a similar way which led to an interesting conversation about whether roots are the brains of a plant or not.
We also spotted a cleverly camouflaged spider, which was a great opportunity to discuss how animals or insects use these natural adaptations to protect themselves from predators. Normally my daughter is afraid of spiders, but I think because she saw this spider in a structured learning opportunity, she was more intrigued by it and felt comfortable studying the spider with her magnifying glass.
This simple and easy plant exploration on the light table was a huge hit, and provided so many wonderful learning opportunities and discussions. I love activities like this that encourage children to discuss concepts and want to seek out more information.
Discover the Best Toys for Light Tables in my toy round-up!
What do you think? How would you adapt this plant investigation for your child?
About Jennifer: Jennifer writes at Study at Home Mama, supporting other families, teachers, and caregivers who might be seeking developmentally appropriate activities and information, often with a Montessori twist. Be sure to stop by Study at Home Mama and check out her other botany for kids posts!
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