LED Glow Art Lighted Peg Display (Dollar Tree)

Package for LED Glow Art Lighted Peg Display, from Dollar Tree
A dollar store version of a Lite Brite.

I, like many others, have fond memories of using an old Lite Brite as a child. It was probably one of my first introductions to the “magic” of toys. How cool was it that you can make your designs light up using pins and a board? Of course, those old Lite Brites (which are probably worth a fortune now) used electricity to light up the board, which clearly wasn’t safe for young kids; now, the national brand boards are made to run on batteries, in accordance with updated laws meant to sap the fun out of everything.

Alas, the Lite Brite has forged itself a place in the annals of toy history, even earning itself a nomination for the Toy Hall of Fame. But let's be real here: the latest iteration of the beloved toy, while still mostly fun, just isn’t the same, all thanks to those blasted toy regulations.

So imagine my surprise when I saw an item simply labeled LED Glow Art at Dollar Tree. It took me a little while to figure out what it was, but once I realized it was Dollar Tree’s version of that old classic toy, I just knew I had to check it out. Obviously, I wasn’t expecting it to live up to a beloved plaything costing ten times as much, but I did want to see just how much fun you can have using a version of Lite Brite that costs only $1.

LED Glow Art Lighted Peg Display outside of its packaging
It's a small board, but having the peg compartment to store them in is nice.

The board itself is very small, which you can tell simply by looking at it. Actually, Dollar Tree seems to sell two versions of these: one is just a lighted board with separate colored pegs, while this one is a lighted board with an attached peg holder to carry them in for easier portability. I would imagine the other one (which I’ve actually never seen in-store, but which they still offer for sale on their website) would feature a larger display, which is a plus, but with the caveat that you have to find somewhere separate to store the pegs. And in a house with a four-year-old, that just wouldn’t fly.

Anyway, I’d say the display section of this board is somewhere around 2”x2”...maybe 3”x3” at most (something I could easily verify with a tape measure, but just don’t have enough interest to go through all that “hassle”). Either way, the point is: it’s very small. The peg compartment is located on the top; I will say it’s rather hard to pry open, requiring some fingernails and some extra effort. This is actually good, because our four-year-old can’t do it, which lessens the chance that they’ll end up all over the place (in a great bit of parenting irony, I was the one who knocked the damn thing over with the compartment exposed and got them all over our floor).

Using it is easy: just insert the pegs in the hole, the way the old one worked. The only difference is there’s a little pre-scored panel under the holes (perhaps rubber?) that holds the pegs into place. It actually does a pretty good job, as I was able to put the display up vertically (it stands on its own) without any so much as wiggling...it will be interesting to see how those deteriorate over time.

The light-up function works well...technically, maybe even better than the name brand, considering it has a much smaller surface to light. The colors are very pretty and the pegs are actually pretty consistent...I didn’t have any that were broken, misshapen, or miscolored. Each pack includes five colors: purple, blue, green, red, and yellow, divided up among 60 total. (Another curiosity? The other version of their LED Glow Art contains clear/white, instead of yellow.)

LED Glow Art Lighted Peg Display lit up in a dark room
The display is surprisingly bright and crisp.

Honestly, this functions about as well as one could expect, and for a great price. The downside: It’s not like the original is really all that expensive to begin with, retailing for around $12, and that will give you tons more space, much larger pegs, a wider color variety and pre-made templates you can use to create some cool things. But if you have younger kids, or are looking for a portable version that they can take with them, this provides everything they’ll need to make some simple designs, and at a price that won’t break the bank.

Overall: 6.5/10. Longevity will be the main concern here, as we have yet to see how well it holds up to repeated uses over the long-term, but I’ve used it a couple times, with no issues. The display is nice and bright, and the colors are consistent, and vibrant throughout. Having an included compartment to hold them in makes it a great option for on-the-go fun, too, and helps prevent having to keep track of 60 little pieces throughout the house. Color me impressed so far!