Review: Playing with Light at Ipswich Art Gallery

19 December 2018

Who knew science could be so much fun!? Ipswich Art Gallery host yet another fabulous school holiday exhibition that dives deep into the world of light.

When we use a TV remote control, a camera or turn on a light bulb, we tend to take them for granted and are oblivious to how things actually work. Playing with Light is an exhibition that forces children and adults alike to see the world of light from a completely different perspective.

Playing with Light – A very cool exhibition according to a seven-year-old

As is often the case with my seven-year-old son, he was reluctant to visit the gallery and would have preferred to stay at home, but he was pleasantly surprised after just a few minutes, a number of times throughout our visit declaring, ‘Mummy, this is so cool!’

My son’s first declaration of ‘coolness’ started not long after we entered the gallery. The very first interactive exhibit is a tunnel which lights up as you walk through it as if the lights are following your every move.

Playing with Light web

It was hard to pick a favourite

With over 22 interactive exhibits, it was hard to pick a favourite. The laser light security beams were my son’s favourite, just like in the movies! But, I think he secretly loved the changing mirror that made it look like he had extra-long arms, flossing took on a completely different look!

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My two year old definitely loved dancing in front of the shadow screen the most, not only because she could see her shadow on the big screen but because every time she moved, stars and bubbles would come off her shadow.

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I was certainly impressed with the number of opportunities to experiment with shapes and shadows, interactive lights and silhouettes. My favourite was the shadow wall, my son and I had a lot of fun posing in different positions and drawing shapes by torchlight!

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Playing with Light 11 web


So many amazing exhibits!

You can make a camera, changing the view with different lenses and filters.

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You can see what happens to light with different shapes and prisms in the Optics Lab.

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You can ‘paint’ with infrared light.

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You can create coloured shadows with your body.

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Now I’m no scientist and I couldn’t explain why our shadow remained on the wall or how we could paint with infrared but the wonderful staff at Ipswich Art Gallery did explain things to us, it was like a mini science lesson and very interesting.

These are just a handful of the exhibits at Playing with Light, and there’s no doubt, your kids won’t want to leave; it’s probably unlike any exhibition they’ve experienced. It’ll amaze you too.


Recommended ages

The exhibition is recommended for ages 4-12 years. There are some exhibits which toddlers may become wary of due to darkness or the sudden flashing of lights and some exhibits which are a little too advanced for toddlers. However, there are still a number of exhibits that your toddler will enjoy as well as a toddler play area for children aged two and under. These toddler areas are located on both the ground and upper levels of the gallery.


Exhibition details

Dates: Saturday 1st December 2018 to Sunday 28th April 2019 (Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Day)

Times: 10am – 5pm daily

Cost: $5 per person. $15 for a Family (admits up to 5 people and must include at least one adult) FREE for under 2.

Bookings: Families and individuals do not have to book, simply pay at the door. For groups of 10 or more, please complete a booking form and email to

Ages: Playing with Light is recommended for ages 4-12 years.

All children must be supervised by an adult or carer.

Written by

Eva Lewis

Eva is a digital content expert who runs a successful parenting and lifestyle blog - The Multitasking Woman. When Eva doesn't have her head in the digital space, she enjoys spending time with her husband, 5-year-old son and 15-month-old daughter, reading her favourite magazines, gardening and dreaming.

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