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Activity and strategy

Magnetic Braille Grocery List

Promote braille literacy, as well as independent living skills, by creating a magnetic grocery list.

Creating a grocery list encourages independence with writing and organization.

I have been working with my son Liam (age 8, deafblind) for quite some time with “grocery shopping”.   We have been working on things such as: 

  1. Appropriate Etiquette: Stay by the cart, don’t “lurch” and grab everything, touch gently, don’t rip off tags, etc.
  2. Accessibility: Accessible grocery lists (braille, objects etc.), giving him explanations of the environment including layout of the store, items for sale and people that are in the store to work and shop.  
  3. Concept Development: Why do we grocery shop?  What is in a grocery store?  Why do we have to pay for our items? The process of planning a grocery trip, etc.

The next stage in “grocery shopping practice” and to encourage independence is allowing Liam to participate in creating the grocery list at home. In the past I have just brailed the list or told him what to add to the list himself. I wanted Liam to take some ownership in keeping track of the items we are out of and need to buy. I thought about different ways to make a list of grocery items that we could add items to as we ran out. I choose using magnetic boards as a way that would be the most convenient for my family.  


  • 2 magnetic boards that can be removed from the wall (I hung ours on the inside of the pantry door, so it wouldn’t be easily knocked down.)
  • Staple food items written in braille (things you buy most often) placed onto magnetic strips
  • Clipboard
Liam putting grocery items on a magnetic board
Liam putting words of grocery items on a magnetic board


Here is how we use our magnetic grocery list system:

  1. Move items (food items placed on magnetic strips) from the “Food Board” to the “We Need to Buy” board when we run out.  
  2. Continue to add items to the “We Need to Buy” board until it is time to go grocery shopping.  
  3. When it’s time to go shopping, bring the “We Need to Buy Board” to the table next to the brailler and type out a “paper copy” of the list using the magnetic board list. Clear the magnetic list to use again for next time.  
  4. Attach the paper braille list to a clipboard to bring to the store!  
Liam moving grocery items on the magnetic board
Liam reading and signing items on “Food Board”
brailling the grocery list
The set up for creating the magnetic braille grocery list
brailled grocery list on clipboard
Brailled grocery list on clipboard: peas, pop, yogurt, milk, bread

*Note:  Eventually I plan to categorize the magnetic list into groups, such as dairy, fruit, grains, etc. and eventually I’d like to make my paper lists in order of what we would buy first in the store as well.  

Collage of creating a magnetic braille grocery list
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