For children, the holiday season can be magical and full of special delights. It also brings an array of new sensory information for children who are blind or visually impaired – more lights, new sounds and smells, distant relatives, and new places. We compiled various holiday tips for the little people in your life with vision loss.
- When wrapping gifts, use bags rather than wrapping paper. Wrapped gifts can be challenging to open (and bags are less of a mess to clean up).
- If you do choose wrapping paper, be consistent with the child’s gifts, using one easily distinguishable paper with high contrast or texture for them to identify their gifts.
- Remove toys from the packaging before wrapping so they are more easily identified when opened.
- When putting up a Christmas tree or decorating around the house, use brighter and multi-colored lights so they can more easily navigate around the house. Use as many live or natural artifacts as possible. The objects will be more interesting for a visually impaired child to touch and smell.
- Check for decorations that could be hazardous for those with low vision, such as candles that could be knocked over or cords that can be tripped on.
- Give a “tour” of any newly arranged rooms so they have safer mobility, especially navigating around a tree.
- When traveling, make sure the child has all identification information with them at all times, or memorized if possible, in case they get separated from family and need help.
Braille playing cards, bingo, or dice
Tactile toys or those with sounds for younger children
Building blocks or legos (make sure they are size appropriate for the child’s age in terms of dexterity and choking hazards)
Play dough or silly putty
Check out familyconnect.org for other great gift ideas!
Rice Krispie treats are a wonderfully tactile activity
Make various shaped sugar cookies
Involve children in wrapping – from bagging gifts to adding bows to packages