Torch light play: why it’s good for children with disability, autism or other additional needs
Torch light play involves using a torch to create light and shadows in a dark space.
Torch light play encourages children with disability, autism or other additional needs to use their imaginations and explore their senses.
Using a torch and playing safely in dark or dimly lit areas might help some children become less afraid of the dark.
Torch light play also allows children to explore science concepts like reflection and cause and effect.
What you need for the torch light play
Torch light play is simple and doesn’t cost a lot. You need:
- a torch your child can hold and operate on their own, or a lamp shining against a wall
- a safe, dark space to play in with no trip hazards.
How to do torch light play
Just let your child experiment with the torch in a dark space and see what happens to the light and shadows.
Here are some ideas:
- Use hands, bodies or toys to create shadow shapes on a wall.
- Make paper shadow puppets.
- Shine light through different materials.
- Play hide-and-seek with a torch.
How to adapt torch light play to suit children with diverse abilities
For children with restricted mobility, you could attach the torch to a wheelchair or mobility device, or use a free-standing lamp. Or your child could direct another player to move in the light.
For children who are anxious or nervous, it can help to stay with your child so they feel safe in the dark. It can also help to keep a small lamp or nightlight on so the space isn’t completely dark.
For children with a lot of energy, it can be fun to play a game of hide-and-seek around the house or garden in the dark. You can use torches to spot the people who are hiding. Dancing to music in the dark or trying to jump on moving torchlight are other fun and active ways to play with torch light.
Looking for more play and learning ideas for your child? You might like to explore our other activity guides. Some of these have been created for typically developing children, but they can all be adapted to suit children with diverse strengths and abilities.