Approximately 6.8% of children under the age of 18 in the United States are living with a diagnosed eye and vision condition. And 3% of whom are specifically blind or visually impaired. Parents and caregivers can sometimes struggle to find the right guidance on how to encourage children with visual impairment to become more social and interactive with their peers. However, there is plenty of inspiration to dig into, if you know where to look.
In honor of Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month, we wanted to provide some fun activities you can try at home. Each activity on this list aims to help improve cognitive functions, social skills, and encourage visually impaired children to use their other senses.
Incorporating these ideas into your daily routine will offer many benefits to the children in your care.
10 Games for Visually Impaired Children
Here are some ideas that you could try, with the goal to just have fun while still supporting their independence:
- Audiobooks and movies can help visually impaired children learn social cues and behaviors.
- Make different shapes out of brightly-colored Play-Doh. Partially signed children may see bright colors. If your child is unable to see any colors, mix in different materials. This can include sprinkles or beans to create different consistencies for him or her to engage with.
- Get your children involved with gardening where the smells and textures are sure to engage their brains—plus, they can learn more about the natural world around them.
- Playing music-based games, like Guess The Lyric, can help improve cognitive functions and memory.
- Look for tactile versions of popular board games. For example, Monopoly boards have been adapted for Braille readers, so your visually impaired child can still play easily with sighted siblings or friends.
- Tell group stories as a family where you go around in a circle and say the next sentence to further the plot. This helps children engage and develop their creative imaginations.
- Read stories to your child to help them learn about the world. Stories are a huge part of children’s development and are a great way to bond, as well.
- Pursue sensory outdoor activities, like setting up sprinklers for them to jump through or wading pools to splash around in. Feeling comfortable with water is essential for any child and can also help them to stay cool in the summer.
- Set up sensory treasure hunts, such as looking for any soft objects in the room or foods that smell and taste sweet. This helps children to identify possessions with their senses.
- Teach them to recognize different bird calls in the back garden, or a park area, so that they can engage with nature and improve their listening skills.
There’s no reason that visually impaired children shouldn’t be able to enjoy all the same fun and games as their siblings and peers. We hope these ideas can provide some inspiration for you to think of more exciting activities for your child. Don’t be afraid to get creative and adapt these examples to fit what your child likes best.
Everyone is different, so match these ideas to their own interests and hobbies.
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If you have any other questions about caring for a child with special needs, don’t hesitate to reach out! Our team is here to help and provide resources and support wherever possible. For more tips on pediatric home care, be sure to browse our blog page for more articles and tips.