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12 Days of Literacy for the Holidays

Ideas to incorporate literacy into Christmas and Hanukkah, including braille activities and other hands-on fun for children who are blind, deafblind or visually impaired, including those with multiple disabilities

1.  Story Box Ideas for Holiday Stories

The holidays are an exciting time of year for children and there are lots of opportunities to incorporate literacy into the fun!  The ideas here include suggestions to make Christmas and Hanukkah more accessible to children with visual impairments or deafblindness.  In addition, there are plenty of ways to promote literacy for learners at all levels.  We hope that you’ll share some of your favorite holiday ideas too!

Preschool teachers Jaime Brown and Katie Armstrong share some of their favorite holiday storyboxes .

Holiday story box collage
Holiday story boxes

2.  Braille Designs for Christmas

Braille transcriber Edith West shares a number of different Christmas designs, including Santa Claus, a Christmas tree, angel, and candy canes.

Collage of Christmas Braille Designs

3. Braille Designs for Hanukkah

Braille designs for Hanukkah from Edith West include the Dreidel and Menorah.

Collage of Hanukkah design

4.  Christmas Ideas for Children with Visual Impairments

Positive Eye’s Gwyn McCormack shares fun ideas, including a Christmas Basket of Magic, Christmas Spinner, and Christmas Hanger.

Lazy Susan with Santa
Lazy Susan with Santa

5.  Holiday Gift Tags

Use braille or tactile stickers to label gifts with this idea from Liamsmom.

Braille gift tag
Braille gift tag

6.  Christmas Tactile Books

Create a tactile book with braille labels to tell the Christmas story.

Tactile book showing manger scene
Tactile book showing manger scene. Text in print and braille: “Baby Jesus was born.”

7.  Decorating the Christmas Tree:  An Experience Book Tradition

Create a tactile experience book about trimming the Christmas tree.

Page of tactile experience book about trimming Christmas tree
Page of tactile experience book about trimming Christmas tree with a Christmas ball in a zipper pouch with braille label

8.  Christmas Tree Project

Practice positional concepts decorating a miniature tactile Christmas tree in this activity from TVI Liz Eagan.

Tactile Christmas tree with ornaments
Tactile Christmas tree with ornaments

8.  Christmas Sequence Activity for Students with Visual Impairments and Additional Disabilities

Work on vocabulary, language comprehension, matching and sequencing of events in this Christmas book.

Cover of Christmas sequence story
Cover of Christmas sequence story

9.  Tips to Make Reading Aloud Part of Your Family’s Holiday Tradition

Reading aloud is a great way to enjoy being together as a family during the holidays.

Two brothers look at a picture book.
Two brothers look at a picture book.

10.  Create a Holiday Conversation Box

Put together a box of holiday items with different sensory qualities, such as bells, candles, ornaments, pine bough, cinnamon sticks.  Explore them with your child to develop vocabulary and language concepts.

Conversation box with Christmas objects
Conversation box with Christmas objects, such as small stockings, garlands, and cookie cutters

11.  Gift Ideas for Kids Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Have Additional Disabilities

If you still have some presents to buy, have a look at these great suggestions from Early Childhood and Deafblind specialist Holly Cooper.

Cloth book of sheep
Cloth book of sheep

12. 10 Ways to Include Your Child in the Christmas Fun

A young boy's hand reads the braille on a Christmas stocking.
A young boy’s hand reads the braille on a Christmas stocking.

Still looking for more ideas?  There’s lots more fun here, including decorations, cooking ideas, and more!

Collage for incorporating literacy into the holidays

United State flag

United States Flag Braille Art Design

A boy using a video magnifier
Tips and guides

Video Magnifiers or CCTVs

Illustration of desktop computer monitor
Tips and guides

Steps for Completing the Screen Magnification Software Assessment