0-5 year olds
Blindness and low vision can affect child development in a number of ways. The visual channel is the primary means of learning in the early years. Sighted children gather most of their information about the world by looking around them which stimulates their curiosity to explore gaining movement, building the ability to roll, crawl and walk to a desired object. If children cannot see clearly, they need help to become curious about the world and to learn about what is out there. This is where parents have to be extremely involved and be imaginative with play, try it it is fun.
So the most important thing to remember is to get your baby interacting with the environment. Encouraging your baby to explore helps to develop an understanding of how the world fits together. This builds confidence to move more independently as a motivatded sighted child would do.
As toddler’s fine motor skills develop, their curiosity is developed getting creative with construction toys. They start by knocking everything down, but they soon get the idea. Toddlers will benefit from being encouraged more by increasing the complexity of their cause and effect toys when appropriate, with plenty of buttons, switches etc that make things happen.
At the next stage preschoolers are learning to become more creative and usually love arts and craft activities. With the right choices, visually impaired children can enjoy these activities too. Playdough is always popular and very tactile. Role play toys are good for development at this stage too, as children learn about every-day situations.
The following is only a suggested list to get you thinking of what is useful in a toy. Please take some of these ideas and tailor to your own child.