Children who can swim will get a kick out of Marco Polo.

Activity Ideas for Visually Impaired Children

by Candace Webb

Activities for visually impaired children should help them develop skills, enhance body awareness, grasp spatial concepts and strengthen their understanding of auditory clues. The activities must also be fun and safe for the children to enjoy them and wish to participate. Activities typically designed for sighted children can be adapted for the visually impaired. Always make sure enough adults supervise the activities and let the kids have fun.

1. Running

Using a long rope to tie between two points allows visually impaired children to enjoy the experience of running. It must be done on a flat surface. Tie the rope between one end and the other of the path just above waist level and let the children take turns running with their hands placed lightly on the top of the rope. This provides safety and a feeling of security for the children, so they can concentrate on moving their feet and getting faster with each attempt. Have someone at each end ready to call out to the child when he is getting closer to the end and needs to slow down and stop.

2. Tag

Tag can easily be adapted with a few adjustments. The person who is "it" can wear a bell to alert the children as to her location. In addition, the floor texture should be changed. For example, tacking carpet down on a wood floor at the game's boundaries lets participants realize when they have gone out of bounds and can turn around and rejoin the game.

3. Swim Games

For visually impaired students who have mastered swimming, a game of Marco Polo requires no eyesight. One person is "it" and calls out Polo when others call out Marco. It is a game of tag in the water, except instead of the one person trying to touch the other players and get them "out," the other players try to locate the child who is "it" by following the sound of "Polo" being called out.

4. Catch

Visually impaired children can play catch. Using softer balls, such as soft, foam, rubber balls, or even balloons, encourages them to participate because it won't hurt if they miss and the ball hits them. If using a regular ball, try bouncing it to them so they can hear it coming. Start by placing the catcher with his back against a wall. This way until he becomes proficient at catching the ball, it will simply hit the wall and bounce back to the thrower.

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