Distance Education Resources
The National Federation of the Blind is committed to ensuring quality education for blind students, and to providing activities and lessons that are fun and educational for blind children and their families. When virtual education is necessary or encouraged, we want blind students to be able to continue learning alongside their sighted peers.
BEE Activities of the Week
In this section, we will feature activities from the BEE, our e-newsletter that outlines strategies and hands-on activities for parents and children to perform together to foster Braille skills, as well as early movement and travel. Check back every week for new activities.
Get to Know the Calendar
- Education Goal: Practice Braille; become familiar with the calendar layout.
- How to Play
- Many of us rely on a calendar to help us keep track of appointments, school functions, birthdays, and holidays. For most of us our calendar is on our smartphone while others still want and need to use other calendars that are accessible and include Braille.
- Blind children need to learn about a variety of calendars, including technical and non-technical versions. There is still value in the Braille calendar. Braille calendars allow a person to recognize the layout of a calendar, and make learning the days of the week and month names much easier.
- Many children learn about calendars in school, so it is important that blind children have a copy of this important tool in Braille. You can make one at home.
- Put important dates, such as family birthdays, anniversaries, and dates for upcoming trips on the calendar. It will give your child something to look forward to.
- Your child can enjoy counting down days by making a mark next to each date with a crayon or marker.
- The American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults provides free Braille calendars to any blind person, school, or rehabilitation facility. You can request a calendar by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that shipping may be delayed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Education Goal: Orientation to the kitchen; ability to explore.
- How to Play
- Blind children should be encouraged to help in the kitchen as early as possible. Letting your blind child explore a cabinet filled with different types of pots and pans gives him or her early foundational skills to understand his or her world in a fuller way.
- Take the time to let toddlers feel different ingredients when you measure them out. Your child should begin to learn the difference between how brown sugar and white sugar feel—even what a raw egg feels like when it has been cracked.
- Allow older children to help by showing them how to measure ingredients. This includes making certain that a cup is filled to the top.
- Show them how to shape cookies and place them on a cookie sheet, how to spread cake batter in a pan, or how to line muffin tins with paper liners, and how to pour batter into those liners to make cupcakes or muffins.
- Finally, and most importantly, make sure your child knows where baking tools and ingredients are stored in your kitchen. Make him or her aware of what a wooden spoon, measuring spoons, measuring cups, and other tools used for baking feel like.
- Perhaps you can set an hour or two aside so you can have your child go through your kitchen drawers and explain to him or her the purpose and name of any gadget he or she comes across.
- This can be a perfect exercise to fill time during these days inside. Your child will thank you for this knowledge as he or she grows.
Create a Chain of Kindness
- Education Goal: Practice Braille.
- How to Play
- Ask your child to come up with tasks he or she would like to do for others. Have the child write each of these tasks on a strip of paper.
- Mix the strips up and form them into a chain.
- Each day, remove a strip from the chain and read what is written on that strip. Your child can perform that task and, in turn, do something nice for someone every day.
- This would make a great Mother’s Day gift provided all of the things on the chain are things your child wants to do for his or her mother.
Review previous BEE activities for more fun and learning.
Interactive Lesson of the Week
Each Thursday at 11:00 a.m. ET we will be offering a lesson for blind children and their families via Zoom. The goal is for these lessons to use things families will already have at home.
Thursday, May 7, 11:00 a.m. ET: The Slate and Stylus—A Versatile, Portable Tool for Life
While the slate and stylus might seem unnecessary in today’s technological age, just like a paper and pencil, the slate can be one of the most versatile tools in a blind person’s toolbox. Join us and learn about different types of slates, as well as getting tips for how to start teaching students to use the slate.
Meeting ID: 956 4857 5316
One tap mobile
+13017158592,,95648575316# US (Germantown)
Past Interactive Lessons
Enjoy past interactive lessons that we conducted via Zoom.
- Buzzing Bees (YouTube)
- Making Scented Playdough (YouTube)
- Making Apple Smiles (YouTube)
- How to Create Braille Tracking Sheets with Things You Have in Your Home (YouTube)
- A Picnic and Celery Swing Cells (YouTube)
- Bang Game (YouTube)
Braille Story Time
We want blind children to have the opportunity to see fluid Braille readers in action. Here are some videos of blind people reading stories in Braille. Each story has an activity that you and your child can do to take the learning to the next level.
- Curious George Goes Camping Read Aloud (YouTube)
- Dear Deer Read Aloud (YouTube)
- Make Way for Ducklings Read Aloud (YouTube)
- Where Does the Garbage Go Read Aloud (YouTube)
- A Picture Book of Rosa Parks Read Aloud (YouTube)
- The Little Red Hen Read Aloud (YouTube)
Here are some resources to help engage your children in activities around the house and teach nonvisual concepts.