Updated: May 23
Have you had a chance to experience the wonder of our jumbo light bright? It isn't the same as the tabletop one you might have played with as a child. Read below to find out how our light bright supports learning and development through play.
The Light Bright is a great opportunity for fine motor development, refining the muscles in the fingers and hands. Depending on your child's age, they might use a claw grasp like above or a pincer grasp. A claw grasp is where a child uses their entire hand to pick up an item like their four fingers are connected and their thumb is a second finger for grabbing. As a child gets older and uses those hand muscles more they move into a pincer grasp, picking up an item with one or two fingers instead of the whole hand.
Did you know that putting a peg in a horizontal slot instead of a vertical slot is developmental? Watch your child and depending on the age they will choose the challenge appropriate for their skill level. If your child is struggling, let them work through how to solve their problem, frustration is a place for learning. As you watch them play if they are getting highly frustrated with no success gently help them nudge the piece closer to the hole or help support the weight of the peg while they try to line it up. Independent exploration with appropriate support from an adult is where a child learns their abilities and limits.
This is also a gross motor activity where children are moving around the table or across the wall to create an image or insert pegs into the holes. This involves bending down for pegs and standing up tall to reach the top of the board. All of these movements are refining gross motor skills and knowing where their body is in space. Older children move through quickly and are just reinforcing the muscle development they have gained so far.
There are many opportunities for peer interaction when playing at the Light Bright. There are a limited number of colors, pegs, and spaces to design and that will create opportunities for conversation and collaboration between children. This is also a place for making a picture or scene together where they will need to communicate what each of their roles are in the play.
This area is where you will hear the word "share" often, but everyone has a different definition of share. Some strategies to try with children to ensure everyone is on the same page is using terms like in the following scenarios:
Your child is wanting to use all one color and another child needs that color too, "I see there are a lot of red pegs, let's figure out how many you are using and how many they can use." This creates an opportunity for the child to dictate how many they are using to complete their plan and support a peer in their play.
If another child is getting in the way of your child's plan or there aren't enough pegs in that area available to split between children you can say, "Oh [child's name] is playing here with these pegs. We will let you know when we are done and you can use this space or those pegs." Just because one child wants something doesn't mean another child needs to immediately stop what they are doing. We all have plans and goals when completing a task, just as children do in play. A limit your child can give to another child waiting to play is: you can use this when I am all done.
The Light Bright wall will always have basic addition and subtraction concepts: adding pegs to the board or taking pegs out of the board. Adding pegs makes more pegs in that area and taking pegs out creates fewer pegs in that area.
Adult facilitation can add more math skills just like at the Amazing Airways exhibit. That can look like, "Wow! You are holding two pegs!" Or, "There were three pegs on the board and you just added another one. Now there are four pegs!" Explaining the numbers and encouraging children to count how many they added to the board or how many of one color they used.
Older children will use this space as an opportunity for subitizing and cardination. Subitizing is looking at a group of objects and knowing how many are in the group without counting each one individually. When a child walks up to a space on the light bright wall and says, there are six pegs here they just subitized if they didn't take the time to point and count each one. This is a skill developed independently with adults encouraging counting and learning numbers while playing such as, "You put in three pegs!" Cardination is counting items and stating the final number correctly. "One, two, three, four. Four pegs!" If a child is not completing this skill you just say, "Hmmm is that how many you counted, let's count together." And you can get to four and say, "Four pegs." This allows the child to learn from your modeled behavior.
The Light Bright is a great place to talk about light, colors, and opacity of objects. This can include just noticing the difference between the black and clear pegs, "Wow when you put that peg in the light is glowing brightly and when you put that peg in I can't see any light. I wonder why that is." Let the child think about the answer and let them tell you their theory. This allows them to explore their wonders through play and their thought process rather than just expecting to be told how the world works.
With older children, you can use those vocabulary words such as opacity, translucent, and opaque. You can compare how different colors transmit light differently and talk about the wavelength of light. Such as how blue light is shorter than red light and how that makes a difference in what you see. Just like how the sky is blue all day and then it turns red and orange at sunset and sunrise. Research together if you aren't sure how light works, and read more about the wavelengths and what you observe at the light bright and how that compares to what you might see at home.
What better opportunity to create than at a light wall with colored pegs. We have seen flowers, rainbows, words, and animals created with the cylinder pegs. You can talk about appreciating the creations on the wall and all the hard work their peers put in. It can also turn into talking about your child's creation and if they have a plan. What will they make? What colors do they need to use? Encourage your child to take a minute to think about what they want to see when they are finished. It is an opportunity to think about what can be created with just light and color. Other children might just want to add pegs to see how the light looks on the horizontal or vertical pegboards, that is a different kind of art. In the end, your child has created something whether it be a blank peg wall because they pulled out all the pegs or a spotted wall full of a variety of colors. Art looks however the creator wants it to look, and your child has all the control when they are at the Light Bright.
Scripts to Try
This is a place where you will want to say, "Good job!" often, but what does good job describe about a creation? Show your child you are interested in what they are doing:
"Wow, you used so many purple pegs!"
"You are working so hard to get the pegs into the wall, it looks more tricky than the table you were just using."
"I wonder what you are going to make. Do you have a plan?"
"Tell me about your picture!"
"Oh, it looks like you created a flower, what do you want me to know about that flower?"
"I see you are holding an orange peg I wonder if you can match it with another orange peg on the wall."
Asking open-ended questions and making a specific comment about their picture will show you are excited about what they did and teach them to look for internal gratification. Instead of always looking to an adult or peer for a good job they can step back and admire they created a rainbow or used only red pegs.