Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Christmas Light Pattern Activity for the Light Table

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Looking for a Christmas patterning activity? Try this simple Christmas light pattern activity on the light table. It's great for toddlers and preschoolers.

Strings of Christmas lights often follow some kind of pattern. Assuming you have multicolor ones, obviously. They'll go something like red bulb, yellow bulb, blue bulb, green bulb. Then it repeats. Again and again.

Well, that was the inspiration for this Christmas light table activity. 

I figured my boys could explore patterning by making their own strings of lights on the light table. A little math. A little sensory play. A little fine motor practice. Maybe work on colors while we're at it too because why not?

What I love about this particular activity is how simple it was to set up. Basically just grab a few materials and set it out on the light table. That's it.

So if you're looking for a quick and simple light table invitation for the holiday season, try this Christmas light pattern activity for the light table. Although you could certainly do it off the light table as well. Either way, it's great for toddlers, preschoolers, and early elementary kids. Plus, it can target a variety of skills.

Christmas light pattern activity for kids on the light table - great for toddlers and preschoolers!

What You'll Need for this Christmas Light Pattern Activity

To recreate this holiday lights patterning activity at home (or in your own classroom!), you'll need:

  • Yarn (or something similar) cut into pieces about 6-8" in length - We're making strings of Christmas lights after all so we need a cord for the lights. Feel free to use longer lengths if you'd prefer.
  • Light table, light box, or light panel - We are using our homemade light table for this Christmas lights pattern practice. Full tutorial here in case you want to make your own table too.

Once you have all your materials, you can set up a simple invitation to play by placing a string and setting out an example pattern on the light table. Sort of like I did below. Or you could set out part of a Christmas light pattern and encourage your child to complete the pattern.

Colorful glass stones and string on a light table, arranged in a pattern like they're a string of Christmas lights

Alternatively, you could just leave it as an open ended activity by placing all the materials on the light table in no particular arrangement. Then see what they come up with themselves. Maybe they'll make patterns of their own. Or maybe they'll use the materials in a completely different way. Maybe they'll use them in a way you never even considered.

Practicing Patterning Skills on the Light Table with Christmas Lights

My oldest J preferred to make his own patterns, which is totally fine. He wasn't really digging my invitation at first I guess. It's totally okay that he didn't want to practice completing patterns like I had intended. He was happy to just do his own thing.

Close up of child's hands playing with glass stones on the light table

Next, J gathered some light bright pegs from our shelf of light table supplies. He decided to create some Christmas light patterns with those instead of the glass stones. The little pegs look a bit like those Christmas string lights that are kind of pointing at the top anyway. Needless to say, they worked really great for this activity.

Child playing at the light table

Light bright pegs arranged in a pattern on the light table

After making a few dozen patterns, J decided to explore the materials in different ways instead. For instance, he decided to combine some of the materials to make a face. He used a combination of the light bright pegs and a couple of glass stones. As you can see, he added eyebrows and everything. Cute, right?

Child-made face on the light table

My youngest K, on the other hand, was interested in observing and describing the patterns I had originally placed on the light table. He loved to point to the individual "light bulbs" and name the colors. Blue, red, pink, green...So it ended up being more of a color recognition activity for him.

Toddler pointing to glass stones arranged in a pattern on the light table

I like how both of my boys approached this Christmas light pattern activity differently. Open ended play like this shows you their personalities and skills. All in all, they had a lot of fun with it and it was quick and easy to set up. So win, win.

Christmas light pattern activity for kids on the light table - great for toddlers and preschoolers!