Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Outdoor Genga and Paper Bag Building Blocks for Children with Sensory Impairments

This game looks a lot like Jenga, but it's actually called The Giant Outdoor Building Block Game. I'm totally intrigued by this giant-sized version. I know how satisfying it is to see a normal-sized Jenga tower come crashing down so this version that starts out at 20 inches tall must be even more impressive when it topples. What a great idea for children who can't manipulate small pieces because of a disability. Blind children may find this easier to work with than the smaller version as well.

This outdoor version of a classic tower building game is more than twice the size of the traditional model, and will test your manual dexterity as you attempt to remove blocks one at a time without collapsing the tower. When all 56 pieces are stacked, the tower reaches 20" high, with the giant blocks and outdoor elements ensuring a more challenging game of structural integrity than the original. Made from pine, the wooden pieces are durable enough for outdoor use yet light enough to be easily maneuvered by children eight years and up. 20" H x 8" W x 12" L. (29 2/3 lbs.)

Click this link to purchase The Giant Outdoor Building Block Game from Hammacher Schlemmer.

Build Your Own Building Blocks

Now, if you're one of those crafty types, here's a way to a "do it yourself" building block game. I got this tip from a preschool teacher and I thought it would be great for teachers of the blind or visually impaired. She said that she was always being told to watch her budget. She created building blocks of various sizes from paper bags.

Begin by laying the paper bag flat and folding the top over about 6 or 7 inches. Crease the bag on the fold. Open the paper bag to it's full capacity, and fill it with newspaper or crumpled paper. Once it is filled, fold the bag on the crease line and tape or staple the bag shut.

These are fun to build with, and when they do topple over, nobody gets hurt! What a cool way to recycle.

If you're really feeling creative, I've got something even more challenging. At FoldSchool, brainchild of a Swiss-based architect, you can get a number of free, downloadable instructions for cardboard furniture for kids. It's virtually free stuff to furnish their rooms, but even better, it's a perfect crafty project to share with someone little in your life. Foster design, playfulness and skills that don't require batteries by folding up some cardboard to make something pretty and useful out of it. Click this link to visit FoldSchool and start by folding a stool, chair or rocker:

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