Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Colored Sand and a Lightbox

Our university has a warehouse from which they sell surplus items, everything from dorm furniture to lab equipment to electronics, cafeteria supplies, and sports gear. I stalk this surplus store's Facebook feed the same way that I stalk Craigslist; Matt and I are not in the habit of buying something as soon as we want or even need it (our bathroom sink that is held up--literally--with duct tape can attest to this), and it's not unusual for me to eventually find what we're looking for in one of those two places.

And that's how a couple of months ago, my years-long quest for a lightbox ended with the purchase of a really, really, REALLY massive lightbox from the IU Surplus Store.

We paid twenty dollars for it. If you know lightboxes, you're eating your heart out right now at that price. As you should!

Until you remember that I've wanted a lightbox for years before buying this one. Not jealous anymore, are you?

Along with finding some great ways to incorporate the lightbox into our schoolwork, I've been setting up some sensory play activities on it in the evenings sometimes. The backlighting is especially evident then, and it's a relaxing pre-bedtime thing to do.

Here's an evening that the girls spent in play with the lightbox and colored sand:

It's mesmerizing to watch. The photographs are a bit disingenuous, in that they make the light from the lightbox look brighter than it is--truly, the children are in no danger of retinal damage here.

We've been using the lightbox for schoolwork--it's a great place to look at x-rays!--but the artistic possibilities are also endless, and I'm now officially on the lookout for supplies like clear bins (for colored water play), colored cellophane, translucent boxes, clear glass containers, colored translucent plastic building materials, tissue paper, clear plexiglass (for window markers), and stained glass-style coloring books.

Craigslist, perhaps?


Tina said...

I am jealous! I've wanted one for a few years as well, but have not been actively searching, so bummer on me. I'd like to attempt to make one some day, but that day is not in the near future.

Oh, I think I may have some math manipulatives meant for the over head projector that would work wonderfully on the light box! If I get motivated, I might see if I can dig them out before we leave tomorrow. Someone might as well use them :0)

Unknown said...

Melissa and Doug has some really cool stained glass coloring books. We haven't lucked upon a light box just yet *jealous* but they are super cool taped to a window lol

julie said...

I had completely forgotten about overhead projector materials! We've got all the numbers for an overhead hundred board, and I think a set of overhead pattern blocks.

I think that our big-box crafts store carries Melissa and Doug--if they have the stained glass coloring books, I can use a 40%-off coupon! I'm also considering trying a coloring book page traced onto tracing paper--not quite the same, though. I wonder if waxed paper is translucent enough to trace onto?