Sorry this post is coming out a little late, but hopefully it might give you a few ideas at the last minute to test out with your little ones this Easter and spring season. As most of you may know, there are a lot of traditional Easter fun activities like decorating eggs, hiding eggs, and egg rolls which are practiced around this time of year. But, for our blind kids, these aren’t always the most fun in which to participate. So, I have been thinking of some ways to modify these popular practices in a way that would make them more inclusive for our blind children. Here are a few ideas I’ve come up with and wanted to share.
1. Decorating Eggs with Feel-Appeal
Perhaps many of you have traditions of dying and hiding Easter eggs. Here are some easy modifications you can do to enhance this activity for your blind child. Instead of coloring your eggs, consider giving them some “feel-appeal. This will make the eggs tactually appealing and provide a great hands-on activity which you and your child and other family members can do together. You may even want to consider having other family members do this activity along side your blind child while wearing a blind fold to help enhance the “feel-appeal” aspect of the activity.
For this activity, I recommend finding some of those plastic eggs that open in half for filling with candy. They come in a variety of sizes, but I recommend the larger size ones. They will hold more weight on the outside and give you more surface area on which to work than the really small ones. I also recommend using a glue gun, spray glue, and even some general white craft glue. Each can be useful depending on what you are going to adhere to your eggs. Hot glue obviously works the best for gluing items, but if your child isn’t ready to use a glue gun yet (and yes, a blind person can use a glue gun, but that’s a post for another time), I recommend the craft or white glue instead. Rubber cement also could work, but it’s a bit messier and takes longer to dry. Non-hot glue also is good because you can use your fingers to feel where to place the item rather then a prodder like you’d do with the hot glue. It’s a little messy, but washable. I tested this out earlier this week with some plastic eggs I bought, with the hopes of providing a picture or two, but my almost-Two-year–old got hold of them and had way too much fun carting them around the house in the egg carton and picked off most of the tactile pieces. So, you’ll have to use your imaginations.
Here is a list of a few suggestions of items which would work well for decorating: (Most can be found around your house or in the craft isle at a local store like Wal-Mart or Target)
- Small jewels (these come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes and one side is flat for sticking to items—think bedazzling!)
- Small foam stickers (come in a variety of shapes, colors, themes, and sizes; and some also have an adhesive back.)
- Uncooked Elbow macaroni noodles
- Small shells or rocks
- Tactile stickers
- Small round candies like M & M’s (the minis ) or Red Hots
- Cake or cookie decorating sprinkles
I found in my experience that the smaller or lighter the item, the better it stuck to the plastic eggs. I especially found the jewels to work well. I could also make Braille letters on the eggs with these which was fun. For the sand or glitter, I used spray glue (which comes in an aerosol can and can be found in most craft isles). I sprayed the surface of the egg and then rolled it around on a small plate of sand. (I didn’t actually get to try with glitter or the sprinkles since I didn’t have any on hand, but I think it would work much the same way. There may be a concern with the sprinkles and the spray glue though if too much glue is used as it might cause the sprinkles to dissolve.) This is a bit more of a messy process and really sticks to your fingers, but was still fun to create. If you have a child who is a little tactually defensive, this could be a good messy play-kind of activity to test out with them, but you’ll definitely want to monitor that it’s not too much sensory overload for them as it is very messy on the hands. It washes off easily though.
Basically, I would just recommend you look around your home and see what crafty things you can find. I did experiment with foil and tissue paper, but it was hard to adhere it to the egg without using so much glue that it made it look like maudge-paudge. The problem with this effect is that it feels the same despite the fact that your paper might have different textures. The foil was okay, but it bunched a lot and didn’t stay smooth as I tried to wrap it around the obscure shape of the egg.
One other thing to remember is that sometimes things with feel-appeal may not always be the most aesthetically pretty or pleasing to see. For example, the sand covered eggs aren’t really visually that nice, but tactually, they add a different kind of feel if you’re looking to design a variety of textures. Just be creative and have fun.
Alternative Decorating Ideas
If your child doesn’t feel like creating tactile eggs, you could always place Braille labels (like ones made from sticky contact paper or dimo tape) on eggs with phrases or names written on them.
Another alternative is to create “Audible Decorations.” Instead of distinguishing the eggs on the outside, you could place a variety of different sounding materials inside plastic eggs. Each could create a different sound when shaken, thus still making each egg unique like decorating the outside does. For example, rice, sand, beans, water, or small gravel would each make a different kind of sound. (Just be sure to tape the plastic eggs together so that the contents won’t leak out.)
2. Eggstra Fun Ideas
Traditional egg hunts are fun, and not really necessary to adapt as long as there aren’t eggs peeking out where someone with 20/20 vision can spot one from across the yard and sprint to it. But here are a couple of suggestions for leveling the playing field some.
- hide all the eggs in ways that would require participants to feel with their hands in and around something before locating the egg
- try having all the participants hunt for the eggs with blind folds on (when I was younger, we always took turns hiding and finding the eggs for each other, so you could switch up the rounds and make some rounds be with blind folds and others without) Just make sure there are penalties for peakers.
- With very young children, you could insert some kind of continuous noisemaker like a luggage locator (this is a device you can purchase from an independent living aids supplier which attaches to your suitcase and has a remote that you press to activate the beeper on the locator connected to your bag.) or small alarm from an old digital clock inside that would emit a sound continuously (I once had a friend who dismantled one of these small inexpensive alarm clocks and taped the mechanics of the clock that made the alarm beep on the under side of a Frisbee so that a couple of blind friends and I could play Ultimate Frisbee with some sighted friends of mine.). You could also try some of those music players that come in greeting cards which have an on/off switch so that you could make it play continuously. Then, hide the egg and let the children take turns hiding and finding the egg by using their ears. This same method could work for an egg roll so that your child could hear and follow his/her egg.
Well, I hope these ideas have been helpful and maybe even helped wet your creative whistle. . Happy Easter and Passover to all. Welcome Spring! Again, I’m sorry for not providing a picture of our eggs we made this week, but there wasn’t really anything left to show except a very happy child. I’d love to hear from you if you try out some of these methods with your family or students. Also, if you have any suggestions of your own to share, please do so as I’m always looking for new ones.