Like all kids, visually impaired children need games that are fun and entertaining to keep them interested. These kids also want to be treated like their peers, not differently because of their disability, so providing them with typical childhood games allows the inclusion they seek. Putting Braille onto game pieces and instructions is a great way for visually impaired children to participate fully in games with sighted children.
Games and lessons
Although playing for pleasure is important for any child, the parents of visually impaired children may want to find activities that help the children learn how to play with toys and with other children since they don’t have the experience of picking up those lessons by watching other kids. Playing games while learning life skills, such as taking turns, can be fun and exciting.
Skills and fun
Games that help reinforce colours, shapes, numbers and other cognitive concepts are educational as well as fun, and help reinforce lessons for visually impaired children.
According to Debra Sewell, a teacher trainer in the education of visually impaired children, says games that can come right off the shelf and require no, or little, adapting for the visually impaired, include:
- Simon - aiding auditory memory.
- Perfection, Cootie and Don't Spill the Beans - all helping with fine motor skills.
- Hot Potato - assisting with social interaction.
Adapting games so that both visually impaired children and sighted children can play together is vital to a child's progress.
Sewell notes that adding Braille labels to sections of game boards enables visually impaired youngsters to participate fully in the action. Providing game instructions and any game cards in Braille also helps include visually impaired children in the game.
Lengthy game instructions can also be tape recorded, enabling players to listen to and memorise the instructions.
Standard playing cards can be used for hundreds of games. Braille on playing cards can make hundreds of games available to a visually impaired youth with very little effort.
Any card game, such as Uno, also lends itself well to use with visually impaired kids by simply using Braille. Games, such as Fill-or-Bust, which use cards and dice also can be fun. Use Braille on the dice, as well as on the cards, and everyone is on a level playing field.
With Braille dice, you can play the game 5,000. The game involves rolling five dice and scoring points for 1's, 5's, three-of-a-kinds, and straights. To open and get on the board initially, you need a score of 750. After opening, you can stop any roll after you have at least one scoring die. The game ends when one player lands 5,000 exactly. For example, if you have 4,800, you only win if you get 200 points. You can stop short (4,850 or 4,900, for example), but to win you must hit 5,000 exactly. If you go over 5,000, you go back to your last registered score (4,800 in this case).
1's = 100
5's = 50
Three 1's in one roll = 1,000
Three 2's = 200
Three 3's = 300
Three 4's = 400
Three 5's = 500
Three 6's = 600
Straight (1,2,3,4 and 5 or 2,3,4,5 and 6) on one roll = 1,500
Use a cake pan divided by magnet strips and large paper cut-outs of Xs and Os for a large Tic-Tac-Toe game for visually impaired youth.
You can also use pegboard and pegs for Tic-Tac-Toe games.
A game that has grown in popularity with visually impaired individuals is Goalball.
The game consists of three visually impaired individuals on each team playing with a ball containing a bell. Each team tries to score by tossing the ball into the other team's goal.