Multi-Sensory Christmas Fun for Children with Blindness

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The sights and sounds of Christmas time fill our hearts and drive our memories. However, for a child with blindness, these memories come from the sounds, smells, and touch of Christmas. Here are a few multi-sensory Christmas activities that are fun for people with blindness who are young and young at heart.  

Small snowball being held in hands.

Snowballs in Any Weather

Who doesn’t love tossing a snowball? If you live in a warmer climate, obtaining snow might be challenging. Likewise, gathering snow in the cold outside isn’t always ideal. So, here is a fun way of making snowballs in any weather. 

This activity is for all ages; please use supervision with young children to prevent them from eating the snow. Also, wear gloves to protect the skin. 

To make snowballs, you need the following items: a large mixing bowl, a large box of baking soda, one bottle of hair conditioner that’s white in color (most dollar stores have many to choose from), a pair of disposable gloves, and you can add a few drops of fragrant oil that capture the smell of Christmas. 

Next, put on the gloves before mixing the ingredients. Pour baking soda into the large mixing bowl. Then, slowly add the conditioner and optional fragrant oil. Mix it all with gloved hands to form a packable consistency to make a ball. Be careful not to use too much or too little of the conditioner. Once you can compact the mixture, begin to form fist-sized balls. The baking soda is cool to the touch, creating a more realistic snowball. 

Now, venture outside for some good ol’ snowball tossing, no matter the weather. Fun tip: hanging disposable foil pans make excellent targets. Plus, a person who is blind can hear the balls hit the target pans.  

Four winter marbles sitting on a patio railing.

Winter Marbles

Ice marbles swirled with color, smell, and flavor can take your holiday senses and fun to the next level. These Winter Marbles are perfect for cooler climates. But, you can enjoy them any time of the year, no matter the climate, if you have a freezer. 

Before you make Winter Marbles, determine how you’re going to use them. We will be using latex balloons to make them and knowing how you will use them will determine the size of the balloon. If you are looking to add these to your favorite beverage, you can use a smaller-sized balloon. Or, add a wooden rock-candy stick for a cold and sweet treat. But, if you want to use this as a centerpiece or outside decoration, use a larger balloon. 

You will start with a latex balloon. Place a few drops of food coloring in the balloon before filling it with water. Using a funnel can make it easier to fill the balloon. As you add water, pay careful attention to the shape of the balloon. Only add enough water to make it round, not oval. This way, you can keep the marble shape and also prevent overfilling. 

Now is the time to add food-grade flavoring. Coffee flavoring (not creamer), digestible oils, and extracts are perfect for adding scents and tastes to these Winter Marbles. Make sure everything you add is food safe. Be aware of food allergies as well. Some extracts may contain peanut oil or other allergens.

After the marble is complete, tie a knot in the balloon to close. Give it a little shake to mix the color and scents. If you added a wooden stick, carefully tie the balloon with the stick at the top.  

Place the filled balloon in the freezer or outside if the temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Wait for the water to freeze. Depending on the size of the marble, this can take 8-14 hours. 

Next, cut the balloon and remove it from the marble. You might need to place the marble under running water to assist with removal. 

Now, you have your scented and colorful cold Winter Marble. Use your Winter Marbles for decor, ice cubes for drinks, or a tasty cold treat. 

Several jingle bells on a dinner plate.

Mini Jingle Bell Wreaths; The Sound of the Season

The sound of jingle bells is often associated with Christmas. his Jingle Bell Wreath project can be used in a variety of fun ways to bring in the sound of the season.

First, you will need to pick about five jingle bells. They come in all sizes and colors. Next, you need a chenille stem. Chenille stems are long, fuzzy, and colorful sticks that look like pipe cleaners. They bend easily making them the perfect choice for assembling your jingle bell wreath. Select your chenille stem based on the color and plushness of your choosing. Now, thread the bells onto a chenille stem. Add as few or as many as you like. Get creative and add decorative pieces between the bells. Plush balls and other unbreakable things make a great addition to the wreath. Once all bells are on the stick, twist both ends of the chenille stem together tightly, making a circle. You can even add a mini bow or ribbon for a festive touch.  

Now, you are ready to shake your mini Jingle Bell Wreaths for Christmas sounds on demand. Or hang your wreath on a door or doorknob to hear the sounds of Christmas all season long. 

Multi-Sensory Memories 

Multi-sensory activities are important for brain development in all children, especially those with a visual disability. We all learn and form memories based on our senses. Think about a specific memory. Now, close your eyes and think about all of the senses that trigger and enhance your memory. The experiences are the same for a person who is blind or who has low vision. The only difference is sight isn’t the leading sense that guides the memory.

All of us at Braille Works wish you all a blessed Christmas season filled with lots of multi-sensory memories.

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This post was written by Christine Sket

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