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Colour & Light: The Lightbox Project

During the previous term, we noticed that our children were showing a strong interest in light and shadows, as well as colours and space. As usual, we followed the children’s interests and ideas, and we decided to have a whole half term dedicated to the theme “Colour and Light”.

At Alphablocks Nursery School, we work a lot with resources linked to light, such as overhead projectors, torches and different illuminating toys (sensory balls, building bricks). We recognise the immense potential these resources have for investigation and exploration and the vast learning opportunities they provide. This is always in line with the school’s hybrid educational approach, where we aim for our children to become confident, lifelong learners. To achieve this, we have a play-based approach that allows for a lot of exploration and fosters children’s creativity and curiosity through a balanced exposure to various materials, in both indoor and outdoor environments.

The Light Table from the “Lightbox” project

An additional series of workshops we held in this respect was provided through a week of the “Lightbox” project. This was done in collaboration with Groundswell Arts, with whom we have worked several times in the past. This time, the “Lightbox” initiative was an interactive STEAM project that invites children into an illuminated space and encourages them to explore the use of light, dark, reflection, shadow and colours.

The light table (shown above) was a big hit with our children. Light tables are a great way to make ordinary resources such as sand or paint a lot more enticing and interactive. The colourful sand in small trays encouraged our Explorers class to practise their fine-motor skills and get those little fingers moving, creating circles, swirls and lines. 

The Adventurers class experimented with food colouring, vinegar and baking soda, watching the bubbles rise as they combined the ingredients with pipettes.

Our little scientists watched in awe, made predictions and questioned why and how things happened. 

In the Adventurers room, we created a world out of silver and gold: a sensory den made out of silver foil, decorated with golden strips of paper, disco balls, mirrors, CDs and torches. Some children spent hours exploring the different sensations:

  • feeling the silver foil materials,
  • watching themselves in the multiple mirrors,
  • listening to quiet music whilst shining the torches against the disco balls and seeing the reflections dance on the walls,
  • creating “rainbows” by shining a torch against the CD and watching the colourful reflection on the floor.

An all-time favourite resource at Alphablocks is the Overhead Projector. The children have been enjoying making big and small structures and observing how they project onto the wall. They used shapes, loose parts such as necklaces and wooden materials, as well as trays of water, food colouring and oil. The overhead projector is a fantastic resource to investigate how light travels and to make predictions and test these.

For example, some of the predictions we tested included which materials will be see-through on the projector, or how big something may look, depending on how far from the light it is.

Projector creating amazing patterns and colours / shadows with various shapes that we use at Alphablocks Nursery School

At the end of an amazing week, we wanted to share the work that the children had created with our parents. In line with Covid-related and other safety guidelines, we created an interactive display in our nursery garden that children and parents could enjoy together at the end of the day. It was such a fun week, full of investigation and learning! Scientific learning is all about inquiry and asking lots of questions.