Braille Resources for Practice at Home

Pre-braille Sensory and Fine Motor

Sensory and fine motor activities should be offered to encourage children to use their sense of touch. Some children may be resistant to this at first but when offered gradually, when in a good mood, and in the context of play, children are more likely to be willing to join in the play. Any chances that children have to play with play dough, in a mud puddle, a sandbox, with shaving cream or in the water are opportunities for children to explore different textures and decrease possible sensory defensiveness. It is easy to start playing with a material the child is willing to touch and invite them to join you. As they have positive experiences with materials they are more familiar with, they may become more willing to touch less preferred materials. In addition, fine motor activities can help build hand strength, control and confidence in using the fingers to gain information about the environment.

Practice Activities:

Make your own sensory blocks.

Tactile mazes help children practice tracking skills.

Play games with infants and toddlers to help develop the sense of touch. Fingerplays help children isolate and identify fingers, necessary skills for braille instruction.

Sensory Bins/Tables: Hide a small object in a container filled with bird seed, pasta, gravel, or shredded paper and let the child find it by touch. Extend this game by filling a larger container and hiding pairs of matching objects.

Thread small beads, using a plastic needle or string with tape on the end.

Tactile Discrimination

Activities for tactile discrimination and concepts that involve labeling textures and materials (such as bumpy, squishy, straight lines, soft, hard, smooth, rough...etc). This is a good time to practice labeling concepts (for example, top/bottom, left/right, up/down, front/back, first/last.) These concepts can be practiced on the body, with objects and in books. Sometimes children with visual impairments have gaps in the understanding of concepts that are often learned incidentally in children with typical vision. For great tactile discrimination skills, children need to learn to use a very light touch, so they can practice delicately touching a feather or sand to see if they can brush their fingers across without moving the object around. Also touching patterns should move from left to right, from top to bottom. Children can match things that are the same and notice when things are different.

Practice Activities:

Sort small objects (buttons, beads, screws, nails, coins) into groups. Start with easier items such as buttons from marbles or pebbles. Sorting coins requires highly developed tactile discrimination. Use small nails and screws with differing heads, flat and round. Discriminating between phillips head and flat head screws is fun and practical. Start two sets of objects and increase to five to six sets. Objects can be sorted into a muffin tin and a low edge tray can keep objects from spilling onto the floor.

Discriminate and sort fabric swatches beginning with more obvious types, like velvet and corduroy, and move to less obvious like linen and rayon.

Play matching games with pairs of cards with different textures (wallpaper, cardboard, carpet samples). Time the child when matching. See if the child can improve the time.


Braille activities can be as simple as the child determining which symbol is different in a set of the same braille symbols. Children should have plenty of experiences touching their name in braille and at first may recognize it as a whole rather than identifying the individual letters, as sighted children often do. As often as possible label toys and items in the home. Print readers are exposed to print examples everywhere they go but braille is much less prevalent in our society and everyone has to work harder to give prebraille and emergent braille learners meaningful exposure to braille. TVIs are usually happy to help you create labels for your use at home. If you aren't familiar with the code, they can help you find the resources to learn along with your child. You can also visit Hadley to sign up for free courses to help you read braille by sight. Have conversations with your child's TVI regarding the introduction of braille contractions and recommendations for supporting your child's learning at home. Some TVI's prefer teaching with uncontracted braille initially but research supports early introduction of contracted braille so students are able to see many braille words as they typically will see them in books. Most of all, create activities and games that your child will enjoy and have fun learning braille together!

Practice Activities:

Make a braille alphabet tub , braille alphabet cards or a braille alphabet book together.

Paths to Literacy is a great landing place for ideas to teach and practice braille at home.

The Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness has a ton of braille activities that can easily be made or adapted for at home use and support a wide variety of braille skills. This is a great resource for game ideas that can be purchased and easily be adapted to work for all children.

LEGO Braille Bricks are a new way for children to explore braille through play. The linked website offers over 90 games to introduce and reinforce pre braille and braille activities. The LEGO Foundation designed, manufactured and is distributing these bricks for free through the American Printing House. Contact your child's vision teacher for opportunities to play with LEGO braille bricks.

Braille Buzz is a braille educational game that includes a braille keyboard with audio feedback when dots are pressed and when certain dot combinations make letters. It has a phonics, keyboard and letter mode which enables children to practice a variety of literacy skills with braille as the medium. Similarly, the Braille Buzz App (available for iOS and Android devices) can be paired to a refreshable braille display and young children can practice with more braille writing and reading activities. Parents, who may not know braille well, can see the print on the tablet that matches the braille on the display.

PlanToys Braille Alphabet A-Z Toys can be used to introduce braille letters and the tactile alphabet. The same is available for Numbers 1-10.

Tactile Magic Cube will help children practice tactile discrimination skills.

Braille UNO is a fun way for children to use braille in a popular game and can include family members or friends.

Tactile-Braille Crossword Puzzle Game is a fun educational game for children to practice making words using plastic tiles. Words can be made vertically or horizontally.