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Activity and strategy

Braille Boggle

Adapt the game of boggle for braille users!

Boggle, I love Boggle! I love any kind of word game honestly, but Boggle is definitely in my top 5 favorites. The idea of making Boggle accessible was really not that difficult, and I was able to use some of the tools I had lying around in our braille room to make it a reality.

I started with the Word Playhouse from APH. We had all the small tiles already brailled and set up to use, so it was easy to start the game.

 

Word Playhouse set from APH
 

Differentiated Levels of Play

As a beginning braille reader, you can use just the consonant and vowel tiles to create your game, however, if your student is more advanced or is learning some new contractions, throw those in there too for a fun twist.

Next, we needed a fun container to be able to close the top and shake the tiles around before picking from the pile. We chose a heart-shaped sequined box that has some texture to the top and some sparkle to it. We tossed all the tiles in and got to shaking.

heart shape decorated with pink sequins         heart shaped box filled with tiles with braille and print letters on them

                                                    

My student “D.” is in third grade so we decided to add some contractions for an extra challenge. I asked her to pick from the box 16 tiles to enable us to create a 4 x 4 grid. For a younger student, using a 3 x 3 grid is an option until the concept of the game is taught and the goal of the game understood.

I placed the tiles on the felt board that came with the Word Playhouse, but you can use any surface that the Velcro can stick to as a game board.

 
small pieces of paper with braille and print letters and contractions on them
 

Not a great pile of letters and contractions as you can see above, but still fun to explore and try. Just like the traditional game of Boggle, D could create words using letter tiles that are touching one another up, down, diagonal, forward or backward.

For our first time playing, I just had D. dictate to me the words she found, such as “star”, “dust”, “car”, etc. We did not play against each other, but instead worked together to hunt down as many as we could find as a team.

 
D's hand reading the Boggle game pieces
 
If you do not have the Word Playhouse, some easy alternatives to recreate the game would be:
  • Use magnetic letters on a cookie sheet or magnetic dry erase board.
  • Create game boards ahead of time on braille paper, either with an embosser or Perkins brailler. These cards would not have the capability to be re-used, but provide a low-tech alternative, for sure.
  • Change grid size to challenge further (up to 5 x 5).
  • Have student braille words they come up with and challenge sighted peers to participate.
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