13 Games to Play With Light

by Deb on April 7, 2011


Light and dark is such a profound difference, especially for a baby who’s spent 9 months floating in warm darkness. Did you know that babies will react to a light shone on the mother’s belly from mid-pregnancy? However it is still a dim, orange world for them and unfiltered light is a shock. While too much can be overstimulating, their curiosity and sensitivity to light means it is a good toy once they are ready to investigate. And that continues right up to big kids.

Here are some games you can play with light, from babies up to big kids:

  1. Torch chasey around the floor, a way of making tummy time interesting for little ones or encouraging crawlers.

    She's grown so much!

    Torch Crawl

  2. Body spotlight – Use a torch to spotlight a body part, fun for little ones learning to control hands and feet and we’ve found it very useful in a car.
  3. Stained glass windows – older kids will have a wonderful time sticking cellophane onto windows with homemade flour paste, and it’s a great thing to do above a baby’s bed so they see all the colours. Or do it with leaves.
  4. Shiny mobiles don’t have to be the store bought variety. Strands of tinsel, aluminium foil and old CDs are easy to hang up and catch the light.
  5. On and off goes the light switch. Once their fingers get strong enough it’s a game they love.
  6. Attract moths by having a light near a window at night. I not only have hundreds of little moths and insects outside my window, I get the praying mantises, lizards and frogs that come to eat them. hand
  7. Hide and seek – add an extra dimension by playing with lights on or off. Or use a torch to find people, dolls and teddybears.
  8. Shadow play – do it on different scales, with a hand making a shadow on the wall or using your whole body outside.
  9. Shine a light through your fingers and work out why it looks red. What about other body parts?
  10. Make rainbows there are several different methods ranging from a trusty hose, glasses of water to magnifying glasses. Rainbow
  11. Break your pencil in water, or try to catch fish. They look like they are in a different spot because of the way water bends light.
  12. Play with a Magnifying glass, under supervision use it to focus light and see how it burns things. Obviously this one needs a safety talk, you know if it’s a good one for your children.
  13. Bounce light off mirrors, you can even use it to communicate.

And here is the most beautiful scientific instrument I’ve seen, the Campbell Stokes sunshine recorder courtesy of Kuriositas.

Campbell-Stokes sunshine recorder

Courtesy of Ficheiro

The sun focuses through the sphere and burns a marked piece of paper behind it, you just add up the scorched sections to see how much sunlight there was that day.

This is part of the Childhood 101 We Play linkup.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Brenda April 7, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Great ideas. I can’t wait to try some of these with my not-so little ones. Thanks.


Deb April 8, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Some of them I happily play with still 🙂


colleen April 7, 2011 at 10:32 pm

We spent hours playing with mirrors when we were kids. If you hold it a certain way it’s like your walking upside down. Also making spooky faces with a flashlight under our chin comes to mind.


Deb April 8, 2011 at 9:27 pm

I’ll have to try that, I just bought the girls little mirrors and they love them.


Sandra (Dynamo) April 7, 2011 at 10:35 pm

some really fun ones


Hazel April 7, 2011 at 10:54 pm

Creative list. I’d like to try nos. 2 and 11.
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Harriet April 7, 2011 at 11:36 pm
Claire April 7, 2011 at 11:56 pm

Good ideas! Thanks. Happy Thursday.
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CountryDew April 8, 2011 at 3:12 am

I have those tiny little frogs sometimes; they adhere to the patio door. Once one hopped into the house and went under the sofa. I had a hard time getting it back out the door.
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Janet April 8, 2011 at 5:38 am

you always have the most amazing lists 🙂


Deb April 8, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Thankyou 🙂


Kelly B April 12, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Loving these! I know my kids will love this! Thanks Deb.
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PlanningQueen April 14, 2011 at 1:00 am

My kids love torches but we haven’t played the games you have listed before. Will be great for the rainy days we are having these school holidays.
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Christie-Childhood 101 April 16, 2011 at 2:10 pm

I love this list, what great fun. Thanks for linking to We Play again 🙂
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