Light Box Magic

Teach kids about light refraction with this fun science experiment for kids.

light refraction experiment

Also let them watch this video to find out how people use light refraction to light their homes!

To learn more go to 1 Liter of Light.

How to Make a Sunlight Box:

You’ll need a big box, plastic water bottles, duct tape, scissors, and kids of course!  Optional: Paint, Paintbrushes, Food Coloring, Bleach, Foil, Cups that fit over bottles.

light refraction for kids

Step 1: Let the kids paint the box!

light refraction for kids

light refraction for kids

light refraction for kids

light refraction for kids

Step 2: Fill the bottles with water.

For more fun add food coloring to some of the bottles.  I recommend regular sized bottles; around 16oz. Mine were a little small.  (If you are going to keep them for a while then you can put bleach in them, but I would skip it.)

light refraction for kids

Step 3: Trace

Trace the bottom of the bottles on the top of the box and cut holes.  Put tinfoil on the top of the box to help the light reflect into the bottles.

light refraction for kidslight refraction for kidslight refraction for kids
light refraction for kids

Step 4: Make a Viewing Window

Cut a hole in the side of the box to look inside.  I recommend cutting a smaller window or just eye holes.

light refraction for kids

Step 5: Let the experimenting begin!

Push bottles into holes and have the children take turns looking in the viewing window.  My daughter Audrey put her hands over the bottles to create a “light show” and I brought some cups out to make it easier.

 light refraction experimentlight refraction experiment

light refraction experiment

light refraction experiment
light refraction experiment
light refraction experiment
light refraction experiment
light refraction experiment
light refraction experiment
light refraction experiment
light refraction experiment
light refraction experiment
light refraction experiment
light refraction experiment
light refraction experiment

The Science behind it:

When light from the sun hits a solid object, like the cup, it is absorbed.  When light hits the water in the bottle, it bends in all different directions.  It bends because the water makes the light slow down.  This is called refraction.  The water makes the light spread out in the box.  I also gave the example of being by the pool.  I told the kids we have to wear lots of sunscreen by the pool because the water makes the light spread out and we can burn easily from the light.  You can also show the children what the light does when there are just holes in the top of the box and no water bottle.

What do you think about this experiment? Have you done an experiment with light refraction?

Update:

A Liter of Light needs your help to bring an even better light solution to people around the world!  Do the experiment above in your school or home and go to their website to learn how you can help!

For more exciting learning activities,
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Comments

  1. says

    These look like a lot of fun! My daughter really loves exploring light, so I’ll have to give this a try. Thanks for stopping by Homeschool Mo! Following back, but by RSS feed since Google Friend Connect is so weird these days.

  2. says

    This is so fun. I’m always looking for fun ideas and experiments to do with my three boys. I can tell they’ll really like this one.

  3. says

    What a fantastic idea…can’t wait to try this with my twins! Thanks so much for sharing with the Weekly Kid’s Co-Op…i’m pinning it to our board this week!

  4. says

    I’ve never seen this before. Good I can now use my left over boxes from moving for my daughters. It’s a very cool idea. I have to add too that your pictures are great!

    • says

      Hi Amy, I’m glad you liked it. The kids really liked watching the video and seeing people using what they had created. It also help start conversations about being thankful to God for what we have because other people can’t even afford to light their homes.

  5. says

    OMG!! This is a very beautiful experiment and I know that the kids had so much fun doing this. Thanks for sharing and thanks for stopping by my blog. I look forward being part of your blog..

  6. says

    Thank you for this! My son is a science nerd and loves doing experiments. I’m pinning this for future reference (it’s winter here at the moment and not too sunny – this will be great over the summer holidays!) Thanks for visiting Maker*land and following along – I’m returning the favour and will be sure to visit often. Cheers! :)

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