Future Reflections                                                                                                           Fall 2004

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Good Toys for Blind Kids Fall 2004

Blind youngster, Nick Pavel of South Dakota, tests his skills on BopIt during an NFB Camp session.
Blind youngster, Nick Pavel of South Dakota, tests his skills on BopIt during an NFB Camp session.

Last fall, we asked readers to nominate a favorite toy for blind kids. We only received a few suggestions but they were very good ones. Below is the list of toys parents and teachers of blind children suggested. If you missed your chance to nominate a toy last year, don’t worry: you can do it now. Please take a few moments to fill out the toy information form on the next page and let us know what you consider to be a “Good Toy for Blind Kids.” You may also email your nominations to: <bcheadle@nfb.org>. We will continue to publish this feature at least once a year (or more often) if we get at least five good nominations.

Twist and Shout by LeapFrog

Nominated by: Sue, grandparent of a ten-year-old blind boy.

This is a good toy because: It speaks the math problem, such as 3+3=???, then gives three multiple-choice answers. My grandson then has to hit the end of it in a timely fashion. If he makes the wrong choice two times in a row, it says ‘Let me teach you,’ and goes over the math problem and gives the correct answer. It keeps track of points and reports back every so often. Also, the model is upgradeable and you can buy small cartridges to change out different material, i.e., math, social studies, science, and vocabulary. So now, when they are riding in the car, my blind grandson can play with his Twist and Shout while his brother is playing with his Gameboy.

Where can YOU get it? Wal-Mart, Kmart, and other stores that sell toys.

Hide and Seek Cat

Nominated by: Vicki, a teacher at the Visually Impaired Preschoolers Center, Arizona School for the Deaf and the Blind, in Tucson, Arizona.

This is a good toy because: It encourages a child to search for the hiding stuffed cat. The stuffed ‘talking’ cat calls out for you to find him every 30 seconds and it gives verbal re-enforcement when it is found. Also, it turns itself off after 15 minutes.

Where can YOU get it? Look for information online at <www.onalark.com> or call (888) 477-6532.

Magnetic Capital Letters by Playskool

Nominated by: Lydia, a teacher in Maryland.

This is a good toy because: These plastic magnetic print letters are Brailled and can be placed on the refrigerator at home where a parent can supervise a child’s play while preparing dinner. In a mainstream classroom the blind child and his/her sighted friends can play with them and learn their ABC’s together. A teacher teaching phonics and reading will greatly appreciate its many uses. The toy allows people who do not know Braille a chance to help the child. Also, this toy is an intro to prewriting for a child who needs to learn how to write his or her name. Children can use them to tactilely learn the shape of a printed letter.

Where can YOU get it? Look for it in Kmart, specialty toyshops, and other stores that carry toys.

Mini Boom box

Nominated by: Marisa of Michigan, the parent of a seven-year-old blind son.

This is a good toy because: My son likes to carry it around and listen to music. It’s not really a toy, but it’s easy to use; he can work it himself. He feels “grown-up” when he uses it.

Where can YOU get it? Radio store or discount stores.

Bop-it or Bop-it Extreme

Nominated by: Pam of Ohio, a parent of a blind child.

This is a good toy because: It challenges a child to use his or her listening and coordination skills. The hand-held auditory toy gives a series of auditory cues and the child has to repeat the sequence by “bopping” “spinning” etc. certain objects on the toy. The child can select different difficulty levels and the toy keeps score. A blind child can play with this toy independently or with a partner or group.

Where can YOU get it? Almost any store that has toys, Wal-Mart, etc.


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