In recent years, bedside tables have become a very popular accessory among families with children. Many parents give them to their children so that they can play and have fun with the contrast of lights and shadows and the little ones love them. However, in reality it is more than just a simple toy, well used they can become a very useful educational resource.
What exactly are light tables?
As the name suggests, light tables are surfaces that have a luminous base that allow you to experiment and give free reign unleash the imagination through the senses. The idea comes from the Reggio Emilia educational approach, a pedagogy developed in the Italian city of the same name that emphasizes, on the one hand, the potential of children to take charge of their own learning thanks to their innate curiosity, flexibility of thought and ability to listening, and on the other, in the role of space and environmental stimuli in early childhood education.
Light tables are a sensory stimulus with great potential since they allow you to the child to go one step further in their creative process by working with translucent materials and silhouettes that give their creations a magical touch. These tables have the power to turn common materials like sand, stone or paper into visually appealing resources, encouraging children to explore new shapes, compositions and textures that might otherwise go unnoticed. Hence, for the Reggio Emilia educational approach, light tables are an educational resource with various uses.
5 benefits of light tables for children
- Stimulates curiosity. The light and shadow effect of light tables is very attractive to children and easily arouses their interest. In large part, it is because this accessory allows them to discover new details and uses of everyday objects that they had not previously paid attention to.
- It enhances creativity. The tables lights are an excellent tool to enhance children’s creativity and give free rein to children’s imagination since they allow them to create dissimilar figures, structures and schemes starting from known materials. All thanks to the contrast of shadows and transparencies that offers endless creative possibilities.
- Improves concentration. The cold light emitted by light tables has the ability to attract attention of children and keep them focused for much longer. This is because it activates the secretion of serotonin and acetylcholine, neurotransmitters that are responsible for stimulating brain activity and promoting concentration.
- Strengthens fine motor skills. Handling materials with different textures, shapes and sizes is a perfect activity to stimulate children’s fine motor skills and develop the movement of the pincer. In this sense, light tables help to stimulate children’s interest in manipulating these materials.
- It favors learning. The manipulative experience with a strong sensory charge offered by the tables of light are an ideal opportunity to stimulate children’s learning. As a general rule, children learn more and better when they receive stimuli that attract their attention and arouse their curiosity.
How to take advantage of light tables?
Light tables are much more than simple work tables. They are designed so that children from the age of 2 can unleash their imagination and create figures or structures using practically any type of material, from normal paper, cardboard and translucent paper to semolina, light disks, silicone sensory circles, etc. translucent acrylic blocks or pieces of wood.
They are also an ideal accessory to exercise some subjects in a fun way, since children can form words in a word search or subtract, add and multiply with manipulable numbers. With the light tables, the little ones will be able to review their knowledge about science by creating luminous constellations, exercising the periodic table or even design beautiful drawings about the environment with liquid chalk markers.
This type of table can also become the ideal setting for setting up a shadow puppet theater or performing activities as entertaining as tracing figures or filling in mandalas. The little ones will be able to play with hydrogel balls and even classify them by color, have fun identifying silhouette templates or simply have fun playing with silicone figures.
Are light tables safe? What you should keep in mind when choosing a light table
The light tables use a system of LED lights that has been the subject of controversy in the scientific world for its effects on children’s health. The problem is that the wavelengths of LED light are in the blue light band, which has been shown to have detrimental effects on the human retina. Added to this is that children have a greater sensitivity to blue light, which can cause alterations such as photochemical retinopathy in children under three years of age.
Likewise , exposure to this type of light can reduce the secretion of melatonin, the hormone that induces sleep, by almost 90%. This means that being exposed to these waves at night could affect sleep and good rest in children. In these cases, it does not represent a big problem since it is enough to regulate the hours of children’s use of the bedside table, so that they only use it a few hours during the day.
To prevent the effects of blue light on children’s eye health, it is recommended to choose a quality light table that meets basic safety standards. It is important that the light it emits has a suitable intensity and is distributed evenly. Points or dark areas and areas of greater light should not appear, since the difference in intensities can exhaust the vision of the little ones.
Buy a light table for your children
Currently you can find different models of light tables that meet these requirements. There are models of different sizes and shapes that adapt to your space needs, as well as light tables with different types of support so that you can place them in a specific area of the house or so that the children can take them wherever they go. Here is a list of some of the best-selling light tables on Amazon.