the play environment for a visually impaired or blind child by structuring
play activities that encourage exploring and learning about the world
through touching, listening, tasting, smelling, and seeing. Size, color,
and distance of objects are extremely important for the child who has
very limited vision. The amount and direction of light can be vital.
cues, voice, or musical toys to help orient the child during play. Provide
a variety of objects and toys with interesting textures, sounds, and
odors. Balls, rattles, musical toys, toys that make noise, nesting toys,
stacking toys, snap together toys, large piece puzzles, brightly colored,
shiny, textured toys, and toys of varied textures and colors can be
super for blind children.
present toys at or above chest level to encourage good posture.
child learn that a toy or object exists even when out of reach or out
of sight. Encourage the child to search and find a dropped or lost toy.
Teach the child to listen and "look" with hands in the direction of
the last sound and to examine an area.
Add color, add sound, tie small bells or other sound producers to a
mobile and guide the child's hand or foot to demonstrate how to find
the mobile and how to produce a sound.
Tie a string to a sound-making toy or a toy with a bell attached. Place
it on the floor or at a table near the child and help the child pull
the toy nearer.
FOR THE TOY
Same as Pull the Toy but pull in front of and slowly away. Encourage
the child to reach for the toy. The toy can be held and slowly moved
at head level or above.
IS THE TOY?
Using a rattle or visible toy, move the toy to the left, right, or all
over. Encourage the child to reach for it, grasp it, and play with it.
This can be done with two toys. Move or shake one, then repeat with
another in a different spot. Ask, "Where is the...?" End with "Here
it is!" The game can be played with people"Where is Joey?"
"Here I am!"
Point to or touch and name various body parts of the child's body. Say
the names, as they are touched and have the child touch the part also.
Ask the child to touch body parts as they are said or ask to point to
or touch your nose, ear, etc. Have the child choose and identify body
or Show Which Body Part...hears, eats, sees, walks, etc. Play Move Your...foot,
hand, arm, fingers, head, etc.
AND SEEK GAMES
Hide toys or objects very near to the child. They can be on a table
under a cloth, in an open box or open paper sack, in or under your hand,
under the table, or behind an object. If hiding a person, let part of
the person be showing. Have the child hide an object or him/herself.
Hide an item that makes noise such as a small radio, kitchen timer,
music box, metronome, etc., or easy to see colored items or shapes that
Children love to roll down, across and over things. Wedge mats, small
grassy hills, a rug, a created slope such as a mat or large piece of
cardboard with objects under one end can be used. Rolling up and over
or climbing on and rolling down a folded carpet or cylinder mat can
be fun and a good learning experience.
child needs help, start him on his back, tuck chin to chest, stretch
right arm over his head, bend left knee, and give a little push at the
hip and roll him. Try another roll with less help. Reverse the process
and roll in the opposite direction. Roll from one side of the room or
mat to the other. Roll under tables and over different items and textures.
Roll to a sound.
Create a ramp by slanting a mattress off the side of a bed, low table,
couch, etc. You may need extra support under the mattress to keep it
from sagging. Other materials such as empty boxes, folded rugs, foam
scraps, cushions, etc. can be used to build up this mountain or whatever
you want it to be.
child examine the mountain, including the very top and the area at the
bottom. Crawl up and down, climb down backwards or feet first in a sitting
position, or carefully roll down. If needed, keep hands on the child.
Later, this mountain concept can become part of a fun obstacle course.
WITH YOUR BODY
Place cartons, plastic pins, or other soft lightweight targets near
the bottom of a hill, your created slope, or on the floor. Make targets
visible or tap on them or provide a sound over or behind them. The child
can roll down or across and knock down the targets.
BUILDING, NESTING GAMES
Build houses, forts, towers, castles, bridges, etc. Invent/put in take
out games. Reinforce by encouraging tactile (touching) exploration and
if needed, assist by guiding his hands over the objects available for
play. Colorful objects with a variety of shapes should be provided.
Balls with rattling beads or bells inside are ideal for early exploration
of what a ball is and what it does. This can begin with mobile play.
Squeeze one or more bells into a whiffle ball or attach a bell to a
soft ball or to the string that suspends the whiffle ball, sturdy balloon
or mini beach ball and encourage or show how to push it, open hand strike
it, or kick it.
ball" could be rolled around the tray of a high chair or a tabletop.
The child can learn to push it, pick it up, drop it, see or hear it
fall to the table or floor. An easy-to-see ball could be used with a
child who has vision.
A child can learn to play "catch" by rolling a large ball back and forth
with an adult. It may be necessary to have someone behind the child
to show how to push the ball away and how to receive it. This can be
done on the floor or at a table. When the child can receive the ball
by himself, try adding one or more soft bounces as the ball is gently
tossed or rolled. Show how to drop and catch the ball on a bounce or
just bounce the ball with two hands or if possible one hand.
this will become stand up and catch on a bounce or catch the ball tossed
onto the palms.
The basket could be a box, wastepaper basket, etc. and the ball could
be large or small or any object. It could be a beanbag. Show how to
drop the ball into the basket. Keeping the basket near to the child,
move it from in front of him to his left and right. Encourage him to
have his arm cross midline (right arm crosses over to left side and
vice versa) to drop the ball in. Gradually move the basket away from
the child so the ball will have to be tossed into the basket. Eventually
the basket will be placed higher.
First attempts at kicking may be best done from a sitting position.
Use a low chair and a large ball. Have the child kick to a person. Gradually,
the person will back up and ask the child to "Kick it all the way to
me." The child may need help with the kicking action. If so, hold his
foot and lower leg and guide the leg swing and kick. For a standing
kick or a walk up kick, the child may need to hold hands or hold a chair
TO A PERSON OR TARGET
Stand and kick to a person. Then have the person or target move back
or to the left or right. Gradually increase distance. Try kicking a
ball that is being rolled to you from the front, from the side. Try
to kick as far as you can. The child may have to lean on a sturdy object
or hold hands.
Create a ramp with a large piece of cardboard, plywood, old shelf board,
etc. Have fun placing a ball at the top of this slanted board and letting
it roll down. Stand up milk cartons, shoeboxes, plastic pins at the
bottom and aim the ball at them. Have the child help place the targets.
OR TABLE BOWLING
Create an alley or lane by placing boards, broomsticks, boxes on the
floor or a table making two straight lines. The lane can be as wide
or narrow as needed. Arrange plastic pins or milk cartons, etc., as
the targets on one end of the lane. Roll a ball down the lane to knock
down as many pins as possible. Make "pins" visible or help with sound.
Can be played sitting or standing. Tie or attach a balloon, small beach
ball, or lightweight ball to a string or cord and suspend it in front
of the child about chin level. Show how to push or strike the ball back
and forth to each other.
use lightweight plastic mesh paddles, cardboard flaps, or tubes from
wrapping paper to bat the tetherball back and forth.
A small four- to six-foot parachute would be great but an old blanket
or sheet will do. All players make a circle around the "chute" and hold
the edges. For only three or so players, use a very small blanket or
large towel. Place one or more foam balls, balloons, small beach balls,
etc., on the chute, lift the chute up and down at the same time and
have fun bouncing the ball or balls up and down. See how long the balls
stay on. Try to bounce them as high as possible and keep them on.
THE BALL GAMES
All players sit or stand in a circle. The object of the game is to pass
the ball around the circle, carefully handing the ball to the next person.
A large lightweight, colorful, perhaps jingling ball should be used.
A timer could be used to determine how many times the ball was passed
around the entire circle. Try again to surpass the original total. Try
passing the ball clockwise, then counter clockwise.
ball to music and have someone control the radio or tape deck. When
the music stops, the person holding the ball has to stop. Begin passing
when the music starts. Perhaps see who got "caught" the most or who
never got "caught".
Stand the child on a piece of rug, pad, mat, etc. Have him feel the
edge then stand and if help is needed, help the child jump forward,
jumping off the surface. Start with feet on the edge or half off, if
needed. The child may need hand support. Stand the child on a low obstacle,
a phone book, block, or bottom step of a stairway and jump off.
Hold hands with the child and encourage jumping up and down on both
feet trying to jump higher and higher. Try hopping on one foot several
times, then the other. Have one or two people hold a broomstick or small
piece of rope. Have the child face the support, hold on with two hands
Demonstrate how various animals hop, such as a frog, rabbit, kangaroo,
and try to imitate. Have the "animals" hop to music.
Place very low items such as horizontal milk cartons and hop over them.
Give the child support if necessary. Tap the object or provide good
THE LEADER - OBSTACLE COURSE
Play follow the leader and travel around obstacles: go under; climb
over; go to a wall and turn left or right; step onto and off objects;
jump over; go into and out of objects such as a big box; or go through
a tunnel made of a long box or a blanket draped over two benches, etc.
Be careful, help guide, if needed. Show where objects are or give sound
cues, if needed. Use a wide variety of obstacles, such as old tires,
tables, benches, boxes, a ladder on its side, etc.
Almost everything can be used in a way to facilitate safe, enjoyable,
beneficial play. Large blocks of styrofoam can be slabs of rock, building
blocks, or part of a mountain. An old card table can be a crawl under
obstacle or, with an old blanket, rug, etc., draped over it, a tunnel,
cave, or wigwam is created. A small cardboard box can be a car, bus,
or train. A huge box can be a clubhouse. Carpet sections, or a length
of carpet can be a base, stepping-stones across a stream, or a "balance
beam." A laundry basket or medium-sized cardboard box can be used
to step in, sit on, toss objects in, or get in and be pushed. An old,
even bent hula-hoop can be an obstacle to walk around, step in, or jump
into and out of, or be passed over the entire body, head to feet, or
feet to head, or person to person while holding hands.
of benches can be step or climb over hurdles. Old tires and inflated
inner tubes can be walked on, stepped into, rolled, stacked, climbed
on or through, and of course, jumped on or off.
can be kickballs or volleyballs. Large whiffle balls can be table tennis
balls. Balloons can be badminton shuttlecocks or tether balls.
blanket can be climbed on or rolled over. Pieces of foam used for filling
cushions and sofas can be cut into Frisbee saucers of all sizes or be
shoved into sacks or old pillowcases to be used as jump on or jump into
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