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Due to the nationwide shortage of vision professionals, it can be challenging to locate personnel. Announce a job vacancy on the Job Exchange of Teaching Students with Visual Impairments, an online listing of jobs specific to the visual impairment field.
Hi! I'm Carmen Willings. Welcome to my website! I developed this web resource to support fellow TVI's and to educate those new to the field of visual impairments in how to best support students who are blind or visually impaired. Read More
During your outings, consider recording parts of your trip on an electronic device. Use these recordings to help your child recall the experience and the order of events. During your experiences, take advantage of the opportunity to build concepts. Compare things that the child hears, sees, feels, smells, and tastes. For children who have some vision, encourage the child to use any vision as he or she scans to locate items, buildings and people.
1. Go bowling.
If you make a bowling game at home, place a sound source behind the pins to give your child an auditory target. If you’re planning a trip to the local bowling alley, most bowling alleys provide bumpers for bumper bowling. Some bowling alleys also offer guide rails, if this is not available, you can help orient your child to the lane. Glenn Hamilton has a lot of information on blind bowling on his Bowling for the Blind website.
2. Explore a museum.
Be sure to make preparations in advance. Notify someone on the staff that your child is blind or visually impaired and will be visiting. They may be able to make special arrangements for the student including going beyond the museum barriers or to touch some of the exhibits. Many museums now also offer audio descriptions!
3. Make homemade ice-cream.
Be creative and try a variety of flavors. Depending on you and your child's preferences, add: strawberries, butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, peaches, crumbled candies, cherries, or nuts. Be sure to include your child in each step of the process!
4. Have an ice cream sundae party.
Make sure to have your child be a part of the TOTAL experience. Have your child help select the ice-cream flavors and toppings. Encourage independence by having your child help scoop the ice-cream and add the toppings!
5. Make a sculpture out of nature.
Use some of the nature items that you gathered on a hike to make a sculpture or fun creature. With just a rock, some paint and wiggly eyes, you can help your child make a pet rock!
6. Make lemonade.
Try making it the old fashion way, having your child be sure to help squeeze the lemons. Nothing tastes like fresh squeezed lemonade on a summer day, rain or no rain! You can use a lemon squeezer or purchase a lemonade maker. For added fun make frozen lemonade.
7. Read a book together.
Shared reading can be a wonderful bonding activity. It can also expand your child's world and allow them to experience books that are beyond his or her reading level. Try reading oldies but goodies such as the Hardy Boys Mysteries, Little House on the Prairie, or the Boxcar Children! Of course it's always best to select a genre that interests your child!
8. Make paper airplanes or origami.
Although this may take some extra hand under hand assistance at first, your child may be able to pick up an interest in this hobby after several trials.
9. Paint on canvas.
There are many painting studios around that allow people to try their hand at painting without committing to buying all the materials. Sign yourself and your child up for a class or buy a few paints at home. Consider adding scents and textures to make the experience more interesting for your student. Learn about other ways to adapt art. Impasto painting can be a little more challenging, but has great three dimensional effects!
10. Play flash light tag or hide-n-go seek in the dark.
If your child is able to see lights, wait until it starts to get dark, turn off the lights and play a game of flash light tag or hide-n-seek. Play with partners if your child is easily scared! For a twist on this game that all students can play, use a toy with a sound source.
11. Make snow cones.
Snow cone makers are relatively inexpensive and readily available in manual and electric forms. Whichever type you choose, be sure to include your child in the entire process of making snow cones or shaved ice and adding syrups of your choice.
12. Make corn on the cob and fruit kabobs.
Shuck, boil or roast and eat corn on the cob. Pair this classic picnic food with home made fruit kabobs! Make it a learning activity by encouraging students to make and copy patterns on the skewers.
13. Go to the library.
Take advantage of reading programs at a local library or bookstore. Most libraries and many bookstores offer reading programs, particularly during the summer months.
14. Sing karaoke.
You may not want to admit it, but singing karaoke is fun! Of course not everyone feels comfortable singing in public....or should sing in public. A home karaoke machine can be fun for the whole family and allow those who are more shy the fun of singing along to music!
15. Make a Memory book.
Use pictures and objects to create a memory book of summer activities or of other activities throughout the year. Add ticket stubs or other items to make the album tactually interesting and help your child remember the experiences.
16. Learn a craft.
There are many craft kits available on the market that are appropriate and accessible for students who are blind or have low vision. Weaving and beading crafts are especially accessible to students, but choose those based on your child's interests and skills.
17. Visit an aquarium.
Many aquariums have a children's petting area for hands on experience with various sea creatures! Larger aquariums such as the Georgia Aquarium, also provide opportunities for encounters!
18. Have a dance party!
Children (or adults!) have a natural gift of dance. You may consider teaching your child how to dance prior to group dances, but sometimes it is fun to just let it go and have a great time!
19. Set up a pup tent and camp indoors.
Of course nothing beats the great outdoors, camping indoors can be a lot of fun for children of all ages and you don't need to worry about bugs!
20. Go roller skating.
Roller skating can be fun whether your child is visually impaired or blind. Of course you will want to be a partner with your child, or ensure your child has a partner to ensure they can be safe. For added fun (if your child is able to see lights), bring along glow in the dark bracelets or other items for you and your child to wear!
21. Put various types of puzzles together.
Although typical jigsaw puzzles, can be visually fatiguing and inaccessible to no vision or very little vision, some children have enough usable vision that this can still be a fun activity for them. If not, they may be more interested in inset puzzles, braille Sudoku or Tangrams. Younger children may enjoy sound puzzles.
22. Create a scavenger/treasure hunt.
This is a particular family favorite at my house! If your child enjoys searching for eggs at Easter, extend this fun activity throughout the rest of the year. If your child needs auditory cues, be sure to place sound sources by the item to be found. You can hide summer theme related items or other theme items. Similarly, you can create hunts where the child has to find items based on a clue. This is a great way to encourage your child to practice reading and following directions. Adjust the difficulty to match your child's abilities and reading skills. If your child is a pre-reader, use pictures or objects to help your child know where to look.
23. Go through old pictures
Go through old pictures (create online album or photo collage). Audio photo books are available and can be used to record brief descriptions of pictures. Encourage students with vision to group pictures together from different activities or trips or place the pictures in the order of the experience.
24. Cook a recipe together.
Like other activities, remember to involve your child in each step of the process. If you are missing ingredients, be sure to have your child help make a list of items you need to purchase at the store. Your child can then help scan the aisles to locate and compare ingredients. When making the recipe, encourage your child to read the directions if they are able, and measure the ingredients. Be as creative as your culinary talents and desire allow!
25. Play a board or card game.
If your child uses low vision devices, games can easily be made accessible by using these devices. If your child is a braille reader, games can be adapted by adding textures or braille. There are a number of games commercially available that are already adapted.
26. Go to the movies or watch one at home!
For many children, going to the movies can be fun. Of course for some children, the dark theater and loud speakers can make the experience less than fun....and can also be expensive! Create the movie experience at home and pair with movie theater snacks! If you do choose to visit the movie theater, be prepared to provide audio description for your child. You can also call ahead and find out if the theater provides this service.