Homemade Light Box for Under $10

How to make a homemade light box for preschoolers with 2 common household items. Great for home, in the car, playdates and sleep-overs!

A homemade lightbox is a wonderful piece of equipment to have in your daycare, preschool, homeschool or playroom. It provides a wonderful way for children to explore colourful objects and light in a whole new way.

For months now, I’ve been drooling over all of the fabulous light tables

and light boxes (those are affiliate links) that I’ve seen popping up all over the preschool websites, and wishing I had one here in my home daycare. They’re so expensive to buy though.

The other night, it occurred to me that I might be able to make my own.

I love making homemade toys for the hooligans, and I knew if I thought hard enough, I could come up with a simple way to make a light box using things I already had around the house.

homemade light box for toddlers and preschoolers

This light box isn’t as large as a light table, but it works like a charm, and it’s perfect for one or two kids to gather around.

Bonus: because it’s small and light-weight, it’s portable.  You can take this in the car, to playdates, to sleep-overs at Grandma’s house etc.  Don’t you love that?

Here’s how it’s done.  Prepare to be amazed by it’s simplicity! 🙂

How to Make a Preschool Light Box:

For your conviencience, this post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


LED light for homemade light box

About these LED lights:

These lights run on four AA batteries

, and last forever.  We have several that we use when we’re camping, and we’ve had them for years.

Opaque container with LED camping light inside

I just pop the batteries out when they’re not in use.

About the container:

Look for an opaque (frosted) container. Something that you would store muffins or cookies in is perfect.  You want one that’s translucent rather than see-through so it will diffuse the light. I found my containers in the kitchen section of a second-hand store.

How to make a homemade light box:

Set the light into the container, turn it on, pop the lid on the container, and voila: instant light box!

If your container doesn’t have a lid, or if the lid is coloured, and therefore, not see-through, you can simply turn the container upside down (without a lid) and pace it over the light to and get the same effect.

homemade light box with camping light and opaque container

To test the light box, I just grabbed a few items from the kitchen since that’s where I was working.

diy light box with various items on top

For play, you’ll want to provide your child with objects and toys that are transparent and colourful so they’ll reflect the light.  You can see some of the items we use here. 

diy light box with coloured items

Small enough to take on the go

This light box is the perfect size for one or two little ones to play at.  It’s small and portable, so your child can take it the car or to a play-date or sleepover.

Convenient storage

Your LED lights and all of the small items you use on your light box can be stored right inside the container in between uses.

Light Table Activities:

If you’re looking for fun ways for your kids to play and learn with their light table, HowWeMontessori has lots of ideas here.

You may also like these homemade toys for toddlers and preschoolers:

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