Children of all ability levels learn valuable skills through play.
Sighted children often play with toys like alphabet blocks and puzzles to gain basic literacy and problem-solving skills. Children who are blind have the same opportunity by playing with toys in braille.
Braille toys and games can provide youngsters with an experience that is fun and engaging, while still providing valuable learning outcomes.
A few tips to consider when purchasing braille toys and games for the first time:
- Try a variety of different kinds of braille toys (for example: a braille puzzle, Rubix cube, braille alphabet blocks, etc.) Your child may gravitate toward a specific toy for a season, but having a variety available provides a valuable opportunity to gain new experiences and improve different skills.
- Consider the age-appropriateness of the toy or game, but recognize that each child’s needs are individual, and your child may enjoy toys that are recommended for a younger or older age group.
- Consider the cost and the value. There are some very expensive braille toys and games on the market, but more expensive doesn’t always equate to a better quality or more meaningful learning experience!
- Consider when and how braille toys can be used for play with sighted friends. Play is an important social interaction for children, and learning to use braille is a great opportunity for sighted children as well. Touch is a very important sense for all youngsters, and braille really focuses on tactile learning.
Need a few suggestions to get started? Here are a few must-have braille toys and games!
1. PlanToys Braille Alphabet A-Z
This 26-piece set is two-sided, including both the upper case and lower case version of each letter; each piece contains a braille symbol of the letter.
Suitable for ages two years and up, this alphabet set is the perfect way to begin teaching the recognition of letters and the spelling of simple words.
2. PlanToys Braille Numbers 1-10
This set contains ten tiles, each representing a number from 1-10. Each tiles includes a braille symbol for the given number, as well as an imprinted leaf shape which can be enjoyed by both blind and sighted children.
This is a great way to teach counting and begin practicing basic math skills.
3. Braille Jigsaw Puzzle
This jigsaw puzzle contains twelve pieces, each with a braille number 1-12. Puzzles are a fun and engaging way to reinforce problem solving skills.
4. On the Farm: Raised Line Coloring Book
Coloring is a popular activity for young children. This raised line coloring book contains ten different simple drawings of life on a farm, including tractors and farm animals. Tactile coloring books are a fun and inclusive activity for blind and sighted children to enjoy together.
5. Braille Uno Cards
Who doesn’t love a good game of Uno? This inclusive version of Uno contains a full deck, with braille symbols on each card.
Ages: 7 and up
6. Deluxe Scrabble Game: Braille Version
With tactile and braille markings, this engaging word game is perfect for blind and sighted players to enjoy together! Scrabble is a great learning game to develop vocabulary and spelling skills.
Ages: 5 and up
7. 3 x 3 x 3 Braille Magic Cube
This braille rubix cube is the ideal way to exercise the brain, manage stress, and practice tactile skills. Each 3×3 cube includes an embossed design.
Ages: 7 and up
8. Braille Old Maid Flash Card Game
This flash-card matching game contains 35 playing cards, each featuring words in print and braille. The cards feature different occupations and are a wonderful way to improve memory and word recognition. This game is designed for children ages 6 and up.
Ages: 6 and up
9. Tactile Braille Crossword Puzzle
This fun, educational game allows children to create words from plastic tiles containing raised letters and braille. This is the perfect way for children to explore letter combinations and to form words.
Ages: 6 and up
10. Tactile Chinese Checkers
Chinese Checkers is designed for two players and can be enjoyed by both blind and sighted children. This inclusive version of Chinese Checkers includes a tactile dot on top of each peg. This game is designed for children ages 6-10.