Games for Visually Impaired
Games for visually impaired children need to be fun as well as be a learning experience. Various games and activities can promote learning of life skills. Some games also strengthen colors, numbers, textures, shapes, and concepts that can be fun and educational too.
Most children play for pleasure and not for learning. However, the unknowingly learn and adapt many skills during the play. It is however important to understand that children with visual impairments do not learn how to play games by watching others. Thus, they may need some extra time to understand the rules.
Quick and Easy Games
Some quick and easy games for visually impaired children are discussed below:
- Simon Says: This game is popular with young children but even young teenagers enjoy it. A person would be chosen as Simon who would call out “Simon says: (hop, turn, sit, etc.). The players would have to express the action. The players would have to follow the commands only if Simon says something. If a command is made without saying “Simon Says," the children should ignore it. As the children keep getting out, the last person left would be the winner. The game aids auditory memory.
- Hot Potato: This game really keeps things moving. The players form a circle and sit with the leader sitting in the middle. The leader tosses a ball that is called Hot Potato to one of the players. The leader is blindfolded and the players pass the Hot Potato quickly. The leader calls out Hot Potato at random and the player holding the ball is out. The game continues until only one person is left. The game assists in social interaction.
- Cootie: Cootie is a classic game that has been played for ages now. The game has faces and body parts of goofy bugs. The bug parts are arranged on a fold out board. The die is rolled to win parts that are needed. For example, if the dice rolls on one, the player picks the head, etc. The body parts of the bug are made using hard plastic that comes in different colors. This game helps develop motor skills. Dice with Braille inserted in it are also available.
- Playing Cards: Normal playing cards with Braille can lead to a varied number of games options for visually impaired children. Games like Uno can also be enjoyed with Braille.
- 5000: With a Braille dice, visually impaired children can enjoy 5000. The game requires rolling five dices and scoring points for three-of-a-kind and straights.
- Tic-Tac-Toe: Use a cake pan that is divided by magnet strips and large paper cut outs of X and O for a large game. Pegs and pegboards can also be used.
- Musical Toys: Musical toys offer auditory feedback and stimulation to visually impaired children. such toys include keyboards (to strengthen finger and finger isolation), win instruments (for lip closure and breath control), instruments to shake, See n Say (for bilateral hand use), Jack-in-the-box (for wrist rotation), tap instruments like drums, sticks (for bimanual control), spinning tops (for strengthening of arms and hands), and Busy Poppin Pals (to develop various hand skills).
- Computer Games: Various modified versions of games are available for blind or visually impaired children. These games include Deekout, Bobby’s Revenge, Online Card Games, Crocodile Dentist, etc.
Many games can be modified and adapted for the needs of visually impaired children. Some of the adaptations are:
- Divide sections of board games with glue and different textures.
- Add Braille labels to each section of the board.
- Use Velcro in sections of the board.
- Braille the instructions and game cards.
- Record game instructions on tape.
- Braille regular playing cards or other card games.
- Use textures or glue to mark differences.
- Add colored stickers to game pieces.
- Mark the dice with a Braille label.
Most of these adaption are already made in games that are available commercially for visually impaired children.
- The information offered in this article is based on the author's extensive experience as a classroom teacher working in an inclusive classroom setting.