Category Archives: Light Box Activities

What do you get . . .

. . . when you cross crafts, homeschooling and special needs and you pour it into a mom like me?

Okay, let me make it a little easier on you.  How about when you cross plastic beads, cookie cutters, the alphabet and an oven (keep reading as to why I won’t do this in a regular oven again)?

You’re getting warmer . . . (no pun intended)

I used the smallest plastic beads I could find for this, but I’ve done it with pony beads as well, and it worked just fine.

“Oh, gosh, can I really melt beads in the oven?”

“YES!!!”  Although I recommend you doing it in a portable toaster oven or roaster oven outside for ventilation.  I did these in the kitchen oven, and although the fumes were not overpowering, I noticed my nose stung something fierce every time I turned the oven on for days.  I figure that was God’s way of saying, “Hey, Alyson, don’t do that!”

Activity:  Alphabet Stained Glass in the Oven


1.  One set of metal alphabet cookie cutters.

2.  Electrical roaster or toaster oven that can be used outside.3.  Plastic transparent beads, assorted colors.  These must be transparent if you want to use them on a light table or light box.  For other uses, solid-colored beads are fine.

4.  Aluminum foil.

5.  Small baking sheet, pan or pie plate that will fit into the oven you are using.


1.  Line what you are using as your pan with aluminum foil.

2.  Place desired cookie cutters in pan.

3.  Pour plastic beads into cookie cutters in a shallow layer, making sure there are no gaps.

4.  Turn portable oven to 375 degrees and insert pan.

5.  Cook for 15 minutes, check, and then continue cooking if necessary, checking every 5 minutes until beads are melted.  The beads should be completely formless.

6.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely (about 45 minutes).  You can put the pan in the freezer to speed this process. 

7.  Push letters out of cookie cutters, using a knife to separate any stubborn areas.

Okay all you fans of the latest ideas in sensory activities . . .  now what???  What in the world are we going to do with these?  Do I hear light box activities anyone?

The big motivator for me in this activity is getting to use these letters on the light box.  I just don’t have many ideas for the light box that don’t required buying expensive acrylic manipulatives.  So here’s what it looks like:

 The pictures just don’t do it justice.  I did use some clear beads mixed in with the colored beads, and I won’t do that next time.  I’d like these to be a little darker in color, and I think I can do that by using different beads. 

For now we’re just playing “Find the letter . . ., but we’ll use this later on as Noah starts learning to string letters together to make words.   I’ll keep you posted, I’m hoping to come up with some other ideas to use these. 

P.S.  Does this seem like way more work than you want to do?  This is a great activity for older kids to help with.  Nobody can keep their hands off of beads in this house, so if it’s like that at your house, put those happy helpers to work!!!!

Do-It-Yourself Light Box

After a little research,  I whipped up my own version of those highly acclaimed light boxes I keep hearing so much about.  It was way easy, and I’m thrilled to have another medium for Noah to explore.

Project:  Do-It-Yourself Light box


  1. 9 x 12 metal pan with clear or opaque lid
  2. aluminum foil
  3. sheet of white typing paper or parchment paper
  4. battery-operated light source (I used two small push lights and one 6-inch flourescent light)
  5. double-sided tape


  1. Line pan with aluminum foil (for its reflection properties), extending up the sides of the pan.  Hold in place with double-sided tape.
  2. Tape paper to the top of the lid.
  3. Adhere lights to the inside of the pan with double-sided tape.
  4. Turn lights on.
  5. Turn lid upside down on top of pan.
  6. Take light box into a dark room and add a little imagination.

Now’s the fun part!  Start searching your house and your local dollar store for items to use on your new light box.  Colored translucent objects are spectacular on this, but anything that benefits from backlighting will be delightful fun for your little one.

Hunting for Plastic Eggs on the Light Box

I’ve been seeing a lot lately in the way of activities based around those oh-so-groovy light boxes.  I decided to give it a try and came up with my own low-budget version of a light box.  Then came the hard part, what in the world to do with it.  With plastic Easter eggs everywhere I look, there was only one answer for this day.

Noah just did color matching today on the light box.  We opened up the eggs and separated the top from the bottom and spread them out on the box.  I love the way these eggs are made, because it gave us a great opportunity to review big and little.  For each egg Noah needed a big half and a little half, and of course we reviewed our colors.  He couldn’t wait to get her hands on this, neither could Bella or Andres.  This was a great fine motor exercise as well with all the opening, closing and snapping.

I’m not quite sure why kids love these light boxes so much, but I think I’ll go with it.  Noah didn’t so much as peep a protest during this activity.  Whatever works, right?