Easy Sensory Play Lights

Children love to explore, engage and learn about the world around them using all their senses and there are many wonderful sensory toys on the market but they are often extremely pricey. We’ve got a great way to provide sensory play lights at home or in your setting for much less.Easy To Make Sensory Play Lights and Play Ideas.

Supplies To Make Your Sensory Play Lights

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How To Make Sensory Play Lights

Push button lights are just so great for young children to explore as they turn off and on so easily with a simple push. The ones I have are round and hexagonal but you can get square and oval shaped ones too.

I have seen children younger than one succeed in turning them on and off and thoroughly enjoy practising doing it over and over. Very young children can use a whole hand to push and older children can manage with a thumb or finger.

Easy Sensory Play Lights and Play Ideas from My Little 3 and Me

First of all I put batteries into all of my push button lights and then I used a bit of sticky tape to keep the batteries extra safely tucked away from little hands. I set some lights aside to keep plain and used the others to add the colours.

Adding the colour to the lights was really easy. I simply cut a few squares of each colour and taped them onto the top of the lights. I found that I needed 3 or 4 layers of tissue paper for the colours to show up with the bright light under them.

Easy Sensory Play Lights and Play Ideas from My Little 3 and Me

I then put the lights under my sparkly, starry fabric, dim the main room lights and invite the children in to play, lifting the fabric over our heads to make a cosy den.

The fabric you choose is up to you and it’s fun to vary this activity with different fabric choices at different times. Light weight fabrics work well and some children may prefer fabric that is slightly see through, like netting. I look out for fabrics with shimmer and shine to it, be that in the shape of stars, planets or sequins and glitters.

Children will love shining their different coloured lights onto the fabric, especially if the fabric is shimmery shiny too.

If you don’t have any fabric, another of our favourite ideas is to cut out tin foil star and moon shapes and blue tack them to the underside of the table. I leave them there all year round so whenever the children want to pretend play involving nighttime I simply throw a blanket over the table and they have a ready-made night sky. You can buy glow in the dark stars and planets (US) quite cheaply too which also work well under a table top.

Easy Sensory Play Lights and Play Ideas from My Little 3 and Me

What Do children Learn With sensory Play Lights? 

Sensory Play Lights To Build Language

Playing with lights and colours in the dark is of course great fun but it also gives us lots of opportunities for children to explore and practice new language as we chat about what we are experiencing.

Here are just some of the words we came up with in a quick brain storm, no doubt you will be able to think of lots more too.

lights, bright, sparkle, shimmer, shine, dazzle, bright, dull, red, orange, yellow, glow, shadow, dark, dim, shine, torch, battery, push, press, hard, soft, on, off, night, sunset, stars, moon, twinkle, sky

Sensory Play Lights For Social And Emotional Development

Huddling together under the coloured fabric gives a great opportunity for children to learn about sharing and turn taking with you and any other children or cuddly toys that might be joining in. Children can take turns with and share the various coloured torches you provide and of course they have to physically share a small space too. You can encourage caring, sharing and co-operation with questions like “Please may I have a turn with the red one when you’ve finished with it?” or “Could you find a torch that Teddy might like?”

Sensory Play Lights For Developing Listening Skills

Snuggling up together with torch-light can be a really cosy quiet time too. In our very busy and noisy lives I think it can be really valuable for children to experience quiet too. Perhaps you can keep as quiet as you can for a minute or two to see what the children can hear. Maybe a car or cat outside, maybe a tap dripping, maybe a bird in the garden?

And of course, being close together in your starry den is a great time to really listen to each other and promote conversational skills.

Sensory Play Lights For Exploring Touch, Smell and Taste

It can be great fun to let children explore how doing ordinary tasks alters in the semi darkness. Can they draw a picture or read their favourite book in the dark? If you give them something to hold can they tell what it is by touch alone? You can offer bite sized pieces of different food to try. Can the children identify it by taste alone?

Sensory Play Lights For Snuggling and Singing

Cosy snuggling is a great time to sing your favourite songs or lullabies. Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star has always been a firm favourite here. Little ones might like to sing their favourite cuddly toys to sleep.

Sensory Play Lights For Fine Motor Skills

Children can practice turning the lights on and off with a whole hand, finger or thumb. They might like to trace the patterns of the stars or shadows with a pointed finger.

You could easily extend the activity with torches that turn on and off in different ways too. The pound shop/dollar store is often a great place to find cheap torches. I’ve a collection with some that twist on and off, some that have sliding on/off switches, some that have push on/off buttons and some that are dynamo type where you pump or turn the lever to generate your own electricity.

You could even add some glow sticks too which are great for curling, rolling and waving too.

Sensory Play Lights and Science

Torch play is great for exploring light and shadows. Can the children see what happens to light and shadows as they move the torches closer or further away from objects. Can they make their hand shadow really big or really small?

Looking for more sensory play ideas?

Sensory Snow Gel

Exploring Colours and Lights

Scented Sensory Dough

I also have a Pinterest board dedicated to Children’s Sensory Activities that you can follow.

Follow Emma (My Little 3 and Me)’s board Children’s Sensory Activities on Pinterest.

Here’s some products for both the UK and US that I love for this project:

Thanks for visiting!

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  1. says

    What a fabulous idea for low cost sensory play. I love your ideas and the links to the educational value of play are so important. Have pinned to try this later and will be keeping an eye out for some starry fabric of our own x

  2. says

    What great ideas!! I used to love sensory play with light in the special cubes and such with my son when he was younger. I was just as much in awe as he was. I love the idea of recreating the experience will little expense at home :-)

  3. says

    Quite a brilliant idea! Children usually are attracted towards lights and using sensory playing lights to teach them various skills is just awesome. Parenting is quite a difficult task, but you made it appear so easy.

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