Friday, February 27, 2015

Alphabet Light Table Play & Fine Motor Activity

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Looking for fine motor alphabet activities? Try this fun alphabet light table play and fine motor activity using dollar tree ice cube trays. It's great for kids who love pressing buttons.

Dollar store ice cube trays are great for sensory table activities, but they also look fantastic on the light table (see here). Yet, they're even more fun when you turn them upside down.

See, these particular ice cube trays, when upside down, end up looking like buttons just waiting to be pressed. They have those silicone bottoms that make it easy to pop out the ice cubes. Ice cubes that, let's be honest, I will never make...Instead, we turned them into a keyboard of sorts to make a fun alphabet learning activity for the light table. 

As you'll soon see, we used this alphabet light table play and fine motor activity to work on a variety of skills. The possibilities are endless here! Think letter matching, letter recognition, spelling, visual scanning, fine motor skills...

So if you have a toddler or child who loves to press buttons (what child doesn't?!), then you've got to try this unique light table activity!

Alphabet light table play & fine motor activity for toddlers and preschoolers

What You'll Need for this Fine Motor Alphabet Light Table Play Idea

If you want to recreate this alphabet learning activity at home, here's what you'll need:

  • Translucent ice cube trays from the dollar store that have silicone bottoms (similar to these ones) - You could use ones that don't have the silicone bottoms, but they'll feel less like buttons and will be less engaging, in my opinion.
  • Dry erase markers - We're going to turn these ice cube trays into alphabet ice cube trays by writing letters on them. You could do numbers too if you'd like.
  • Light table or light box - It wouldn't be an alphabet light table activity without a light table, right? We, of course, did this activity on our DIY light table. But if you don't have a light table, you could certainly do this activity without it and the kids would still have a blast. 

I wrote uppercase and lowercase letters on the silicone part of the bottoms of the ice cube trays with the dry erase markers. I can easily wash the marker off so that the trays can be reused for other activities in the future, such as this other light table activity

Dollar store ice cube trays with letters written on them are on a light table

Alphabet dollar store ice cube trays on the light table

Letters written on colorful dollar store ice cube trays are sitting on the light table

Toddlers & Preschoolers Will Love this Light Table Letters Activity

I just love how these ice cube trays look on the light table. They're becoming one of our favorite light table manipulatives. But they're even more irresistible though when they are alphabet buttons waiting to be pushed. Especially if you have a hyperlexic child who's in the height of their alphabet fascination stage.

There are a few different ways you can play with these alphabet ice cube trays. I'm sure you can come up with other alphabet ideas or literacy activities as well. Here are just a few different games that I played with my youngest son K:

  • Letter recognition: I would call a letter and then K would press the letter that I called. Or he would press different letters and name them himself as he pressed them. Some times he would go through the alphabet in order. Other times we'd jump around.
  • Uppercase and lowercase letter matching: K would press the matching uppercase and lowercase letters at the same time. 
  • Spelling: I would help K spell words by dictating the letters while he pressed them. Older kids could practice their weekly spelling words with this activity.
  • Name recognition: We would work on spelling his name together (it's a long one!), pressing the letters and saying their names. 

Overall, my son had a blast with this alphabet light table activity! Probably not surprising given that we've done a lot of fun light table activities over the years.

Child pressing letters as part of a fine motor alphabet light table play idea

Child pressing letters as part of a fine motor alphabet light table play idea

More Activity Possibilities for Working on Fine Motor Skills that Your Kids Will Love

This activity is part of a weekly series called Fine Motor Fridays, where me and my blogging buddies share some fun fine motor activities for kids. Here are other ideas from this week's roundup:

Fine Motor Name Activities Using Beads from Powerful Mothering

Popper Ball Game: Fine Motor Play with Plastic Cups from Little Bins for Little Hands

Watercolor Drip Painted Easter Egg Garland Fine Motor Craft from Stir the Wonder

Fine Motor Bead Play with Tractors from House of Burke

5 Easy Easter Games Using Plastic Eggs from Lalymom

And hopefully you'll give this fun alphabet light table play and fine motor activity for kids a try. My boys loved it!

Alphabet light table play & fine motor activity for toddlers and preschoolers