This post was contributed by Dyan of And Next Comes L.
Make Your Own Manipulatives for the Kids Light Box!
The boys love to play on the light box that we have. As a result, I am constantly looking for new, inexpensive manipulatives to use for kids light box and light table play. Then I saw these homemade manipulatives from Stillparenting made from transparent file folders. How perfect! Of course, I had to go one step further and do more than just shapes…
Homemade Manipulative for the Kids Light Box
It all started with a package of five file folders from my local dollar store. They cost me a whopping $1.50. The package contained one color of each: orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a red one, which was a little disappointing, as I was hoping to use primary colored shapes to reinforce and explore color mixing principles. Regardless, I ended up making a lot of manipulatives from the file folders pictured below.
I started cutting out shapes using scissors. It was tedious work, tracing the shapes, and cutting them by hand. I figured that there had to be a better way to go about doing this. So I ran the file folders through my Silhouette Cameo, which worked amazing. Why I didn’t try it in the first place is beyond me! Regardless, if you don’t have a digital cutting tool, this project is still doable using your trusty scissors. However, I could cut out all sorts of awesome manipulatives with my Cameo if I wanted.
Colorful Shapes for the Kids Light Box
As I mentioned, I cut out shapes. I did a circle, square, heart, triangle, and rectangle for each color for a total of 25 shapes. These were all cut by hand. The shapes can be layered to explore color mixing.
Fun Letters for the Kids Light Box
With my wonderful Cameo, I cut out some uppercase letters, which are, of course, my boys’ favorites! I think they look so cool on the light box. Of course, J started to use the shapes and letters together to practice some alphabet sequencing.
I still have four more large file folder pieces that I can use to create more manipulatives. I think I’ll do some numbers, some stars, and perhaps some fun silhouettes like animals or something in the future. In the meantime, the boys have been thoroughly enjoying these inexpensive manipulatives. They also pair up nicely with our homemade alphabet beads for the kids light box.
Married to her high school sweetheart, Dyan is a stay at home mom to two boys, J and K, who also teaches piano part time out of her home. She began her blog “And Next Comes L” in March 2013 after some mom friends encouraged her to share her creative ideas. You can read more about how her blog came to be here. She loves to dabble in all things creative and crafty, but particularly enjoys making homemade toys and quiet books for her kids.
We actually just did our first light box activity a couple weeks ago. The kids had a blast! (I’ll share about that soon.) I’ll have to get some of those transparent file folders when we go back to school shopping to make some of these. Thanks for the great idea, Dyan!
If you like this, get lots more by signing up to get B-Inspired Weekly right in your inbox. And follow B-Inspired Mama on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest!
I love to share at and find inspiration from these link ups!
Wait. Don't miss anymore fun!
Sign up for the FREE newsletter to get easy ideas - from kids crafts to learning fun to family recipes to creative parenting tips - right in your inbox!