## Light Cube: Cube Count

Play with color and light while building on the Light Cube! These little blocks were used to explore concepts in math as well.

Here, we laid out the colorful blocks and asked the student to build a tower as tall as he could make it.

Here, Roberto noticed the saturated blue of the block he was holding and found it amazing how it seemed to change color as he lifted it off and away from the glow of the Light Cube.

Now how do the colors look like all bunched together?

With the amount of clear color blocks we had, we decided to use them for counting! We laid down a number and asked Roberto to line up as many blocks beside it as required to match the number. The gel numbers were found at our local dollar store as window clings!

Here we are matching up to the number six! Keep cycling through different numbers to build number value recognition.

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## Light Cube: Dry Erase Story

Drawing on the Light Cube can be a calming visual experience. The light’s glow from beneath the drawing board is a great background for tracing! In this segment, we gave our friend Malak a R49620 Dry Erase Worksheet Cover and asked her to draw a special story!

Malak was excited to get started but didn’t know where to begin. We started by asking her to draw a snowman, and describe the character to us. “Okay! I can do that!” So as Malak drew, she told us everything about the snowman character she had just doodled.

All the characters she drew were from the movie Frozen™. She could name each of them individually and put great detail into their appearances, everything from the various hairstyles to the point of the reindeer’s nose!

It’s great working with the Dry Erase Worksheets because they are re-usable. Kids can draw on the Light Cube without having to cover the light with a sheet of paper. If children would like to copy the artwork onto paper, simply place the sheet on top of the drawing and trace. Use a paper towel or a rag to erase the dry erase marker.

While Malak spoke about the movie’s storyline, she continued to draw things that related to the movie. Her drawings filled up the full space of the worksheet cover like a visual storytelling aid! It was a great exercise and one you can try with your students, too.

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## Light Cube: Water Beads and Alternatives

Talking about transparent objects is a great way to move into a sensory exploration of water beads! Although you should reserve this activity for older students, we list some alternatives to water beads that you can experiment with yourself.

Water beads are found at most outdoors or garden stores. The water beads are used to retain excess water–they swell to a larger size and feel squishy to the touch.

Pour water into a basin and drop in your water beads. The water beads are very tiny at this point. Leave the beads to soak overnight.

Once the beads have fully soaked, they will look like squishy marbles!

Since the water beads can pose a hazard to young children, it is best to leave this activity for older students or you can try some of these alternatives:

Use quick cooking bubble tea BOBA! These little tapioca starch balls are used in novelty bubble teas. Use the quick cook kind, or purchase a premade jar of tapioca balls. Let them soak overnight in warm water with a bit of food dye to color them!

You can also use basil seeds, which swell when stirred into water. Repeat the same process by leaving them to soak in some colorful food dye.

Use sieves, cups and other cooking tools to experiment with the buoyancy of the water beads.

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## Light Cube: Salad Tray Sorting

Sorting interesting items in a see-through tray on the Light Cube is a great way to focus students on the task at hand. Instead of being distracted by a surrounding environment, each child will deliberately place the items on the sorting tray, using the glow of the Light Cube as their focal point.

We asked our friend Jasmine to take all the assorted sizes of stars in the center of the tray and organize them into individual groups. We found the tray at our local dollar store, but a similar snack or salad tray can be used as well!

The stars were found at the dollar store too, but you can use anything that is available in different sizes–such as marbles, beads or even toy animals!

Jazzy had a great time comparing the different star sizes together to see which one was bigger or smaller. She made great use of comparison words in describing the different sizes!

The glow of the Light Cube made this simple activity much more interesting and enjoyable!

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## Light Cube Jelly Play

Kids love experimenting with new and weird materials. No wonder, then, that we had the perfect opportunity to play with giant gelatine blocks over the Light Cube–the kids were so intrigued! Using feathers to decorate the gelatine was an added fine motor activity that you can incorporate in your own gelatine block play! We detail more about this process below.

Gelatine blocks are great because they are transparent, meaning that they are clear enough to be seen through. Some gel blocks can be thicker depending on how you mix up the quantities (we will discuss more about how to make your own gel block below!) This is a great opportunity for teachers to talk about the differences between opaque (not see-through), translucent (somewhat see-through) and transparent (see-through) objects!

The gel block has great texture and movement too! On the Light Cube, it looks even better because it glows with the light underneath.

We asked the campers to “decorate” the gel block with fancy additions such as pipe cleaners and feathers. We used shimmering, glittery pipe cleaners to help bounce the light around even more.

Both campers were really excited to see that the gel block acted like a stand for the feathers and pipe cleaners. It was soft enough to press the materials through but also firm enough to keep the materials in their spots without letting them tip over!

Since we had the Light Cube set to a white glow, it made the colors of the feathers pop out! Look at the contrast between the yellow and the blue. These are complementary colors, meaning that they are placed directly across one another on the color wheel. Another cool lesson for students: learning about color groups!

Once we got started, it was hard to stop! Fabian here decided to curl one of the pipe cleaners into a spiral shape and jut it into the gel block for fun.

To make your gelatine block just like ours you will need the following:

• Knox® Gelatine (find a box of packets at any baking supplies or supermarket near you!)

• Heat-safe bowl or large mold, depending on your preference

• Hot or boiling water

• Cold water

• Measuring cup

• Baby oil

• Whisk

First, measure the cup capacity of the mold you are using. Simply use a measuring cup to keep track of how much water you use to fill the mold. Once you have a definite number, divide it in half. One half of the water cup capacity will need to be boiled while the rest will need to cool in the fridge. You can pour out half of the water into a kettle or sauce pan and heat it up until boiling. For every cup of water used to fill the mold, you will need to use 1 package of the Knox® Gelatine powder. While you are waiting for the water to boil, spread some baby oil onto the mold. This will help loosen the gelatine out of the mold when it is set. Pour the hot/boiled water into the mold and mix in with the gelatine powder using the whisk. When the gelatine is fully mixed into the water and there are no remaining clumps, pour in the remaining half of the water that was cooling in the fridge. Stir the mixture with the whisk. Place the gelatine mold into the fridge to set for 3 hours or leave overnight.

In the morning, pop out the gelatine mold. You can use a long spatula to ease the block out of the mold. Flip the mold over to set it on top of a tray. Place the tray onto the Light Cube and turn on the white glow to get started on your own neat sensory-fine motor play activity!

We love the campers’ priceless reactions to the activity–they spent more time on it than we’d planned!

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Welcome back to 2015! We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday break. We are excited to kick off the New Year with a feature post on our Educational Light Cube! Here’s a cool idea: use it as a soft glowing lamp for your classroom reading fort!

We first started building our fort using Straws and Connectors. Here, Ed is separating the Connectors from each other.

We taught the campers how to connect the Connectors together with the Straws. This was the starting point for building the reading fort. The diagram for building this reading fort can be found here!

We all worked together to build the fort, starting with the base and working our way up.

The best part is guessing what the final sculpture will look like! It’s one thing to see it on paper but another to see it in real life. Suddenly, we all got excited and started building faster.

After we built the base, we joined the roof together with a point at the top.

The Straws and Connectors pack comes with a large blue veil that can be draped on top of the Straws and Connectors structure to make it enclosed. Ed got excited to put the veil on top of the structure but he soon realized he needed some help!

This is what teamwork is all about! Here comes Sierra to help Ed out.

Almost finished…! Now to turn on the Light Cube to complete our reading fort.

The soft glow of the Light Cube made reading enjoyable and calming at the same time. Both of the campers became so immersed in their reading, they forgot about all the crafting going on outside. This is a perfect project for your classroom that your students will love to build, and later, use for themselves. The reading fort is also a great place to store the Light Cube when not in use for sensory explorations or when you would like to center excitable students’ attention on quieter projects.

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## Light Cube: Math Straws

Explore mathematics on the Light Cube using simple items you can find at your local department store or dollar store! The Light Cube will focus students’ attention as they manipulate the materials to build skills in early numeracy!

In this edition of Light Cube lessons, we’ve decided to focus on counting and sorting. To do this, you will need a package of clear colorful straws, some transparent numbered stickers and 10 clear plastic drinking cups.

First, we tacked down our stickers to the Light Cube. The stickers we found are numbered 1-10 so you can explore counting in different quantities, or for advanced learning, develop skills in skip-counting. We’ve decided to skip-count by the number 2. This is a great starting point for discussing the differences between odd and even numbers.

You can additionally create your own stickers by using clear scotch tape and writing numbers on the tape with permanent marker. Paste down the tape onto the Light Cube. Tip: If you own a Light Cube tray, you can use write the numbers directly onto the tray with dry-erase markers.

Ask your students to pick out the same number of straws as the numbers indicated on the Light Cube. Place the straws you’ve picked out directly onto the Light Cube underneath each number.

Once we had explored the basics of skip-counting, we moved onto bigger numbers. You can mix the digits to make these larger numbers. To contain the larger number of straws, use the clear cups.

To reinforce your students’ counting skills, mix up a random amount of straws into each cup and ask the student to correct to the proper amount. They must either add or subtract the straws.

To take students’ learning one step further, ask them to imagine that each straw has a certain value, such as 2. Therefore, each straw represents the number 2. If you have labeled a cup as the number 6, students will have to place 3 straws inside the cup to reach the right amount.

The glow of the Light Cube is a great base for exploring abstract mathematical concepts as students are focused on the materials they work with.

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## Educational Light Cube: Dimensional Art by Twins at Play!

The awesome sensory and light play blog Twins at Play delivers a new post about our Educational Light Cube! Check out this great combination of our Light Cube Building set and Constructa Clips on a beautiful illuminated surface and the coolest sculpture you’ve seen yet!

© Kristen from Caution! Twins at Play! blog

This is what Kristen from Twins at Play had to say about her twins’ experiences with these products:

My twins and I have been enjoying making awesome shapes, sculptures, and art on the light cube with the Constructa Clips light table building kit! The kit comes with 48 red clips and 32 mylar shapes. The shapes are nice and sturdy but do bend a little for awesome building fun! The shapes are also great for color lessons! I love this kit, it is perfect for the light cube, light table, or even natural light play! They cast great color in sunlight!!

In the photos below, we used the clear plastic trays for the light cube to hang the clips from. Then we were able to build outward and downward with the constructa clips and shapes!  This was a really fun and unique building experience. This was also a very unique light cube/light table play experience.
We also used a plastic straw to create art sculptures. We used the 4 clip constructa clips to attach shapes and then we just put the straw through the whole in the center of the constructa clips. What a fun way to create art and building at the same time on the light cube!!

Thanks to Kristen @ Twins at Play for putting together this awesome post!

To see more about our R59601 Educational Light Cube, visit here!

R60165 Constructa Clips Light Table Building Kit can be viewed in-depth here.

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## Educational Light Cube: Sorting Colorful Plastic Circles

View the beautiful effects of colorful mylar shapes on the Light Cube!Today’s lesson was to experiment with different printed shapes and colors that can be overlapped to create new appearances.

These mylar shapes were made from tinted transparency sheets. You can find colored transparency sheets at your local dollar store… as page dividers! Cut out simple shapes such as triangles, circles and squares from these special plastic sheets.

Incorporate math lessons with your Light Cube exercise. Teach your students about geometric shapes and their properties! Ask students to describe the shapes to you.

We asked our art camper Jasmine to combine the shapes together and see what kinds of new colors she could make. Each of the shapes were cut out of differently-colored transparency sheets. These colors, when overlapped, create new color combinations!

The sheets are transparent, meaning that you are able to see light through them. Place the sheets onto the Light Cube and turn on the strobing color function. Watch the transparent sheets change color as they reflect the light underneath.

Explore the meaning of transparent, translucent and opaque. Experiment further with other objects to see the differences between their transparencies.

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