A light box adds another sensory element to every day play. The boys are lucky that their great grandfather was a radiologist, so we have the old light box he used for viewing X-Rays. If you don’t have a light box, you can make one using a clear storage box, filled with battery operated fairy lights.



I stuck magnatiles on the radiator behind the light box. This was the first time Cian had seen this light box. He came over, squatted down and examined the light box, then took one magnatile off the radiator and placed it gently on the light box.

Once Cian had got another magnatile down from the radiator, he started making a pile on his knee. He seemed nervous to put the pile on the light box, so I encouraged him. He very delicately started building a tower of square tiles.

The light shining between his fingers was fascinating to Cian and he studied it intently. Then he built a tower of square tiles.

In the pictures below, Cian picked a triangle off the radiator and examined it, exclaiming, “Huh!” Next, he placed the triangle in the light box next to his square tower. He happily carried on building. When satisfied with the square tower, he proudly placed his triangle on top.

To add another element to his exploratory play, I put out some magnetic letters and magnetic wands. The magnetic wands are quite strong, so when they are stuck together it takes some strength to pull them apart. The magnetic wands are great for working on fine motor skills, from controlling the wand, to picking each letter back off. As he picked the magnets up with the wand, I talked about the magnets being attracted to each other.

When Cian was done playing with the magnets, he watched Bing Series 2: Episode 15 on BBC iplayer to reinforce his learning. In the episode, called ‘Magnets’, Coco shows Bing how magnets work. While Coco builds a tower, Bing looks for more magnetic things in the garden but accidentally drops the magnet behind the flowerbed where nobody can reach it.

Finn found the light box and magnatiles. He decided to build a Daddy humpback whale, to play with his humpback whale.

Daddy and Finny humpback whales enjoyed lots of kisses.

When Ioan had his turn with the magnatiles and light box, he built some rockets.

DfES Early Learning Goals (2017)

Physical development

ELG 04 – Moving and handling:

Children show good control and co-ordination in large and small movements. They handle equipment and tools effectively.

DfES Early Years Outcomes (2013)

Understanding the world

Technology (Birth to 26 months)

  • The beginnings of understanding technology lie in babies exploring and making sense of objects and how they behave.
  • Anticipates repeated sounds, sights and actions, e.g. when an adult demonstrates an action toy several times.
  • Shows interest in toys with buttons, flaps and simple mechanisms and beginning to learn to operate them