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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Monday, December 12, 2011

Feel ‘n Peel Sheets: a Carousel of Textures

by Kristie Smith, M.Ed, CTVI

“Then the carousel started, and I watched her go round and round. . . All the kids tried to grasp for the gold ring…” J.D. Salinger

The other day, I met with one of my favorite early childhood specialist, Michelle. We discussed how one of our young, totally blind students was not responding any more to textures. When you asked to see the baby’s hands, she would withdraw and make a sad face.

“What can we do?” Michelle asked, “And why has she just begun to dislike textures?” I responded that the only thing that came to my mind was that she was becoming more aware of her surroundings and was noticing more sounds, textures and perhaps more vision- in other words, she was becoming overwhelmed.

I promise you, I received a gift from God today when I went into my cubicle to do an order. There in my chair sat a box labeled Feel ‘n Peel Sheets Carousel of Textures and I did not remember ordering it. Talk about perfect timing.

Ecstatic is an understatement for how I felt when I opened the box of translucent “rough” vinyl sheets, translucent “bump” vinyl sheets, corrugated sheets, craft foam sheets, foam glitter (my favorite), velour, vivelle with adhesive backs and a double –backed adhesive sheet all in various colors such as: red, blue, purple, dark green, light green, orange, yellow, pink, lilac, brown, and gray.

Imagine all the fun you can have and the educational activities you can do with this amazing product from the American Printing House for the Blind (APH).

Below, I have listed a few activities that can be enhanced by the carousel of textures, colors and fun. Be creative, have fun and watch your students enjoy adaptive materials that help level the ground of learning- and like the carousel, learning will be never-ending.

For early childhood- kindergarten:

  • Use the felt side on the All-in-One-Board after placing the adhesive backed vivelle sheet on the back of different textures from the kit. I place my students hand on the different textures and verbalize “soft”, “scratchy”, “smooth”, “bumpy”, etc.
  • When teaching colors to younger children, use their favorite foods such as: a banana smell to help to reinforce the color yellow. Have the toddler to touch the textured (bumpy) yellow sheet, smell a banana while you verbalize the color yellow and the word “bumpy”.
  • Sing with the Color, Shape and Thematic CD’s from Frog Street Press. Cut the textures into shapes and spray them with scents that represent colors.
  • Make a textured mat and allow the child to explore.
  • Play “same” and “different”. Children will match like textures, smells and colors.

For elementary ages: grades 1-3:

  • Use the Game Kit from APH (also one of my favorites) and place textures around the board. If a child lands on a bumpy texture he must go back to the start. If she or he lands on a smooth texture they may advance four spaces, etc.
  • Make a bar graph using the different textures. See how many children in the class or the neighborhood like different types of jellybeans. To reinforce the bar graph, read the amazing book, Jellybean Jungle, also available through APH>.
  • Play “Word Play/Texture Day” Dolch word cards available from APH are added to the back of different textures. Children will feel two bumpy cards and turn them over to view words on the other side. This game is similar to playing the Memory Game. If the cards have the same word on them, the student may keep the two cards, but if the words are different they must put them back where they were.
  • Have students make a puzzle by cutting out shapes from a texture and putting it back together again.
  • Read the book from APH’s catalog: Bumpy Rolls Away, Great for tracking practice and textures.
  • Place the textures onto different objects and ask the child to sort according to the texture and or color. For example, put a scratchy texture on the outside of a coffee can. The student will feel various objects on the table in front of them and place all the scratchy objects into the can. Repeat for each type of texture.
  • Cook with different types of textures from any recipe. Ask the student to identify each ingredient according to their texture and placing them beside the texture they match.

The world is full of textures, colors, smells and tastes that are there for our enjoyment, and as Dr. Virginia Bishop once said, “If you can’t bring the child to the world, bring the world to the child.”

The Carousel

By Karen Polensa


Come ride the carousel with me,
enjoy yourself, smile, giggle with glee.
Miniature brass band, music is playing,
up and down motion gently swaying.

Men made of brass dressed in clothing of yore,
play a minuet and waltz, but yearning for more.
Hold on to the pole and climb aboard,
ready for an adventure, take hold of the cord.

Carousel is beginning to circle around,
choose your seat before hitting the ground.
Sit on a rabbit and wave to the crowd,
feeling pretty good, perhaps even proud.

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