Exploring Light, Shadow and Reflection | Reggio Inspired Learning

We went to our local art gallery which has a brilliant light play exhibition at the moment. I also browsed through the inspiring Reggio Emilia exhibit ‘The Wonder of Learning: the Hundred Languages of Children‘. It was incredible but unfortunately did not allow photography. I wish I could have had a child-free look and took notes!

light, shadow, reflection, reggio, light table, ipswich art museumPin it

Anyway, back to the Light Play! exhibit. What they had on display was packed full of ideas that can be adapted for learning and fun at home. It is the epitomy of open-ended exploration, inquiry and play.

light table, reggio

First to attract Lucy were the light boxes. There were so many opportunities for learning and exploring.

How do the objects change when placed on the light box?
Are their many shades of colour? Why?
Can you change the colour of an object by placing another object on top? Why?

Note the tower of measuring cups that a girl created over the time we were there.

light table, reggio

Lucy was attracted to everything colourful. I loved that many of the manipulatives on the light tables were simple, attainable and affordable items light cups, measuring spoons and shot glasses. There were lots of mirrors as well to add another dimension to the experience. They also had these great transparent geometric solids:

view through geometric solids Click to see on Amazon or find them here if you are from Australia.

light table, zoobs, sparkle, toys, reggiozoob sparkleI saw some Zoobs (sparkle variety – click picture for Amazon link) at a local store and wondered how they would go on a light table. I really loved how the containers to hold them were transparent too.

 ohp, overhead projector, reggio, light
Cameron went straight to the overhead projectors (OHPs) which looked impressive taking up lots of wall space. I have an awesome friend who is giving us an OHP soon so it was great for inspiration.

New questions came up like:
How do the sizes of the materials change on the projector?
Why are some objects brighter than others?
Why are some items that are colourful not colourful on the projected image?

ohp, reggio
I saw a few adults creating patterns on the OHPs too. One child spent most of their time getting in front of the projected image and marveling at the colours on her shirt and skin.

ohp, reggio, light, overhead projector
Lucy was more fascinated by the OHP itself. She kept pointing at and questioning it.

reflections, reggio
The reflections corner was completely bypassed by both Cameron and Lucy (unless you count Lucy donning one of the sparkly wigs.

shadows, reflections, reggio
Cameron’s favourite area was the shadow sculptures. He loved shining the torch on the disco ball and making it reflect off all the walls. I used the sculptures behind him to show him how translucent objects can cast coloured shadows and how moving the torch further/closer and side to side affects the shadow.

light table, web cam, reggio
This is the only area that would be hard to replicate at home – the webcam + projector light table. It’s was very engaging. Cameron spent a lot of time with the liquid timers (see below) in front of the web camera and watching it on the screen, in the mirror and in front of him. They were mesmerising.

light table, liquid timers, reggioSet of 3 liquid timers at Modern Teaching Aids

It sure gave me a lot of inspiration for materials, experiments and play with light/shadow/reflection in our home. I definitely want to set up some shadow play after seeing Cameron’s enthusiasm. I hope you gained some inspiration – thank you for reading!

You may see me linking up here. Disclosure: there are affiliate links in this post.

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  1. says

    What a fantastic display! Your children are the perfect ages for this kinds of activity, lucky you!! Thanks so much for sharing your creative idea on my link up, I hope you’ll be back next week!
    Enjoy your weekend,
    ~ joey ~

  2. Jen Barry says

    That exhibition looks amazing. I wish it was on in Sydney. We just bought a light table for my son but I haven’t bought anything to use on it yet. I’ll have to start looking around for some translucent items. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • says

      There are some great DIY light table manipulatives on Pinterest. It’s such a dynamic tool for exploration :) Thank you for popping by Jen! I truly appreciate it.

    • says

      It was a great experience and has inspired so much more light/shadow/reflection exploration at home with our light table, overhead projector, mirrors and torches :) Thank you for stopping by!

  3. says

    What a fantastic post! Such a lovely range of inspiration- my brother actually snagged an OHP for me a couple years before I had the twins or even knew about REA- he knew I had enjoyed using them for art projects in college. It had been sitting in our attic until recently, but it still works! I can’t wait to start incorporating it into our activities.

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