It is not always easy to know what toys to buy a child with a visual impairment, so here are some thoughts and ideas to help you.
You don’t need to buy toys from specialist suppliers. Choose toys that will make the best use of any vision they have, and that develop other sensory skills such as the sense of touch and hearing. Older children will no doubt want the latest toys but the same criterion applies. Hopefully the following checklist will help.
Provide toys that:
- encourage using eyes to follow an object and physical movement: bubbles, balloons, hand puppets, balls (scented, lit, sparkly), pull -long and wind-up toys, cars, train sets.
- encourage hand-eye co-ordination and/or fine motor control: posting toys, inset puzzles, bricks, beads, peg boards.
- have interesting textures: feely bags, soft toys, balls, building blocks, Duplo
- make sounds: bells, chains, beads, wind chimes, rain stick, music makers and instruments, feely bags (fill with cellophane, beans, rice etc), books with audio features.
- are reflective, fluorescent or bright: foil survival blanket, cheerleader pom-poms, torch, metalic or push button light up toys
- have scents: make playdough with scented oils, scent bags filled with herbs
- feature switches/controls that are easy to find by touch
- have bold lettering and strong colour/tone contrast
Check out these links for sensory toy and play ideas
- Snese Toys
- RNIB Christmas shop
- RNIB Lets Play Guide, includes catalogue and stockists
- RNIB Learning through Play in the Early Years & Focus on Foundation:
- RNBI Early Years guide
Make sure toys are safe
Look out for this symbol! Toys with this symbol contain small parts that could be swallowed and cause a choking hazard. They should only be given to children over 3 years and of sufficiently advanced development. More information about toy safety symbols.