Families renew old traditions and create new ones during the holiday season. Whether it’s a neighborhood hike or a game around a table, time off from work and an open afternoon or evening provides the leisure time to celebrate—and play—with the ones you love. We asked members of the Council’s Vision Services team for their suggestions about how to fill that free family time.
Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist Brent Perzentka says card games are always a fun social activity around the holiday season. Card games can be played with either large print or braille cards. For people without enough functional vision to read large print cards, learning a little braille is a great solution. The Council offers braille instruction that can get you started. “Since you only need to be able to read 13 numbers and a few letters for the color, it’s something that can be learned without a lot of effort,” Brent says.
Brent also likes Braille Uno. “It’s an easy, fun game for everyone to play,” he says. Board games are usually a hit as well. “As a family, we also used to play braille Monopoly and braille Scrabble.” Brent says the key for anyone playing games with someone who is visually impaired is to communicate. “For example, if I play a five of hearts, I verbally communicate that I am playing the five of hearts, so that the person I’m playing with knows it even without reading the card.”
Brent adds that games that do not require sight, like 20 Questions or Trivial Pursuit, are also great choices.
Leave it to the Council’s Access Technology Specialist Jim Denham to come up with a high-tech family activity for children during the holidays. Jim recommends checking out the virtual fun called “Pet My Reindeer.” This free-to-enable Amazon Alexa program allows a child to virtually feed and nurture their very own pet reindeer.
Vision Rehabilitation Therapist Rachel Pavone nudges family members into the kitchen for holiday gatherings. “Make cookies with the family!” she suggests. “This is an activity that involves little to no sight. Once the dough is made you use your hands to press out the dough and then cut out the different cookie shapes.”
Once the cookies are in the oven, Rachel says board games can commence. “Along with some of the games we sell in the Sharper Vision Store, almost any board game that you can buy off the shelf has a way that you can adapt it to be played with individuals with varying disabilities.” Extra-large dice and low vision bingo cards are among the game items you can find in the Sharper Vision Store.
Finally, Rachel advises family members to get out of the house. “Play in the snow! Even just getting outside and making a snowman can be a ton of fun for the whole family.”
You can find a wide range of games and gaming equipment like cards and dice in the Games section of the Sharper Vision Store website. You’ll have to find your own snow for outdoor fun—the store doesn’t carry that.