Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Have a Ball with Braille!

This activity is a way to make braille fun for emergent readers!

Basket of balls of different textures


I have a collection of about 20 balls...all different sizes and shapes and textures and weights, including a tennis ball, a fuzzy ball, a football, a spiky ball, a bumpy ball, a koosh ball, a bouncy rubber ball, a ball with a bell in it, a ball with holes, and a bowling ball. 





Image of ball for braille activity

Heavy, hard bowling ball with holes

Along with each ball, I have its name in braille, a photograph of it for my students with low vision, and its attributes/ description. 



Image of tennis ball with braille


The braille names are on APH Permabraille mounted on foam pages and bound with comb binding. 

I guide my early braille students as they find the braille on each page and pretend to read the names of the balls, then I give them that ball and we talk about it's attributes.  ("What weight is the bowlingball?" "It's heavy!"  "What temperature is it?"  "It's cold."  "Is it hard of soft?"  "It's hard.") 

Watch my student tracking the "tennis ball" from the ball book on this video.

After we talk about each ball, my students get to throw it to me ... or into a basket, and then to turn the page to find the next name. 

My students with low vision are matching the balls with their photographs.   Some of my students are starting to recognize the braille labels for the balls, and they're getting more and more comfortable in describing the balls. 


Make It Fun!  For more ideas to make braille fun see:  Making Braille Fun, Meaningful and Developmental for Young Readers


ball braille collage



I have a question about your book

Posted by Katie Armstrong

Wow... you've got my wheels spinning!!

Posted by Katie Armstrong

Posted on January 16, 2013
Updated on: January 25, 2018

Previous comments for Have a Ball with Braille!

Katie Armstrong commented on January 21, 2013

Thank you so much for your response.  And again, I love this idea!!  I think it is great.  I Can picture it for so many different objects or concepts... I can image a hunt around the school for various chairs/stools or tables/desks.  Brilliant!! 

Thank you!!  I guess I will need to remember to share when I create one of my own!! 

Laurie Hudson commented on January 21, 2013

Thanks, Katie.  Yes, I have separate 9" by 12" photographs of each of the balls in my set, with their (print) descriptions on the backs.  The bound book has only the (interlined) braille names of the balls, mounted on circles of Permabraille on foam pages.  It's certainly not critical to make both the photographs and the bound braille book .... depends on the student.

This strategy works well for any collection that our students can enjoy and use to compare/contrast features.  I also have collections of bells/clappers, brushes (hairbrushes, toothbrushes, scrub brushes, fingernail brushes, etc.) and pasta (rigatoni, penne, ziti, etc.)  I can already imagine your vehicle book!   


Katie Armstrong commented on January 20, 2013

I absolutely love this idea!! 

I was just wondering... the pictures of the balls and the descriptions, are they included in the book or are they separate?? and, in the page of the book that you have shown the braille is on a round shape of white braille paper, do all the pages look the same just changing the names of the balls? 

I think that this book could also be easily adapted and create for other objects as well.  I currently have a braille student who is highly motivated by cars and other vehicles.  He loves to talk about the colors and features of the cars and would love a book made just for all the vehicles we have around.