Does your child play games? My daughter, Lindsay, who is 6-years-old and in Kindergarten, has never showed much of an interest in games or toys. She prefers swinging, jumping on her trampoline, spinning on her Gym Spin, swimming, books, and playing pretend - acting out stories or events, playing teacher or doctor or mommy, etc. (She’ll say, “Wanna be actor outers?”) Anyway, I never really thought much about games until she started having friends over for play dates. We’d had other children come over with their mommies for “play dates” since she was a baby, but it was really only in the last year that she was truly interested in playing with other children.
Suddenly I realized that we needed some games that she could play with her sighted friends, so when Texas Parents of Blind Children (TPOBC) planned an adaptive games activity, I was anxious to learn. On March 14, 2009, TPOBC hosted our second Braille Education and Skills Training (BEST) activity at the Lighthouse of Houston (more information about BEST is listed at the end of this article). The topic was Adapting Games. There were 8 blind/visually impaired kids and 10 volunteers, and we had a great time playing games and talking about how to make games accessible.
For those who couldn’t be there but would like to learn about accessible games, here is a list of games we played:
There are many places to find accessible games and materials to adapt games. Check toy stores, craft stores, educational supplies stores, etc. or just Google phrases containing combinations of these words: “games”; “accessible”; “adapted”; “blind”; “visually impaired”.
Here are some other good places to look:
Most importantly, don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Parents and teachers have been adapting games for blind kids for years. Ask around and read these great articles:
Merry-Noel’s Game List:
A List of Nonvisually Accessible Commercial Games by Merry-Noel Chamberlain, MA, TVI, NOMCT, Future Reflections (Fall 2008)
Merry-Noel’s Original Games by Merry-Noel Chamberlain, TVI, NOMCT, Future Reflections (Fall 2008)
Adapting Games for Blind Children by Katrilla Martin, Future Reflections (Summer/Fall 2005)
Since our last BEST activity, Lindsay and I have played about 1,000 games of Tic Tac Toe (the wooden, tactile version) and Hi Ho Cherry-O (which I adapted myself). It’s been a lot of fun, and Lindsay has learned a lot about taking turns, competition, and winning and losing graciously.
(Well, we’re working on it….)