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‘Fireworks’ Pre-Writing Tray

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With Christmas over so quickly and a long winter ahead, we’re increasingly using our DIY lightbox for activities. Read on to find out how to create this ‘fireworks’ tray at home.

You will need:

  • IKEA Flisat table with ‘trosfast’ trays or two equal sized storage boxes
  • Rainbow rice or similar
  • 1 – 2 sets of LED battery operated fairy lights – ideally ones that require a screwdriver to open the battery pack.
  • Small paintbrush (optional)


Start off by placing between 1 to 2 LED battery  operated fairy lights into one of the trays. How  many strings of lights you need will depend on the  brightness of the bulbs. We used 2 here.

Next, place the second tray (filled with rainbow  rice) on top. It’s best just to use a thin layer of rice so that it is easier to ‘write’ in.

Invite your child to make patterns and shapes in the ‘fireworks’ tray . You could use pre-writing shape cards to help or even show photographs of fireworks for inspiration.



  • Fine motor skills and hand strength for grasping hold of the paintbrush or using fingers
  • Hand-eye coordination following shapes (if cards are provided)
  • The World Around Us – when combined with a unit of study on celebrations.
  • Creativity – designing fireworks in the rice.


Age Recommendations

Z was almost 4 when we did this activity and has had plenty of opportunities to develop her fine motor skills via playdough, threading, lacing and art, amongst other things.

You can read more about pre-writing activities here.

For safety, please ensure that this activity is supervised, especially if the battery pack is easily accessible. Ideally use fairy lights that require a screwdriver to open the batter pack.



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Sian Thomas

Sian Thomas

Sian is the founder of Teach Investigate Play. She helps parents navigate the early years by providing meaningful and simple activities. She also owns 'Get Set Social Media' - a social media consultancy for small businesses. From the UK, now living in Vienna (via Australia). About page has more!

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