Whilst it is really important for children with visual impairment to have lots of access to real objects, it is also of equal importance that they too are able to play with what are seen as possibly ‘fashionable, current toys,’ just as other children do. Here is ‘Hello Kitty’ used as a toy to play with but also as a learning resource to support Literacy and Numeracy development.
- Hello Kitty toy
- Lazy Sue – covered in shiny paper, or tablecloth (Lazy Sue is from IKEA)
- Dolls Tea Set (I found a Hello Kitty Tea set in a toy shop sale, but any tea set would be suitable)
- Labels for each item used in the play activity (presented in Braille or Large Print)
- Embossing film
- Spur wheel or biro pen and Jelly Mat (Geometry Mat – From RNIB)
Activity suggestions and ideas–depending on the child’s development and offered as ideas only!
- Read the story of Hello Kitty
- Before playing with Hello Kitty, child to match each initial letter sound on the labels (print or Braille) to each tea party object
- Make up a story about Hello Kitty and her friends having a tea party. Tell the story to the child inviting other children to listen to the story and bring along their favourite toy to the tea party
- Talk about how Kitty is feeling at her tea party, is she happy/sad? Will she be smiling if she is happy? What will she be doing if she is sad? What will she sound like if she is happy/sad? Children to pull smiley and sad faces. Make (tactile) or draw smiley and sad faces, say something in sad and happy voice!
- Speaking and listening: Each child attending the tea party to take it in turns to speak at the table, each child to ask a question of another guest, the guest chosen to listen and to answer and then ask a question of another guest at the table. Focus, model and encourage good body language, turning in the direction of the child’s voice, nodding, and showing good listening skills
- Bake the cakes and make sandwiches to eat at the tea party
- Child to make a tally chart of the children’s sandwich choices. Child to use a spur wheel and mark lines on acetate paper, or embossing film, (one sheet for chocolate spread, one sheet for Jam and one for cheese – one line marked for each choice made.) Child to use speaking and listening skills to ask each child attending the tea party their sandwich choice
- Fill a Hello Kitty handbag with objects beginning with K for Kitty
- Count out the plates and cups in the tea set
- Set the table (Lazy Sue) for one, two, three or four people. Concept of four cups for four people – ‘fourness of four.’ How many cups are required for four people, three people etc. How many cakes, sandwiches required for four, three, two people? How many pieces will each sandwich need to be cut into?
- Simple addition and subtraction – add one cake; take one cake away from the table etc.
- Total the lines on each tally chart and make a simple pictogram using tactile graph paper sticking on a different shape for each sandwich filling. One shape = one child’s filling choice
- Remember to maximise the learning opportunities, there are always more there than first appear!
Further ideas to support children with visual impairments are available at https://www.positiveeye.co.uk/resources/