Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

Accessible and Enjoyable Holiday Activities

With the holidays and vacation time upon us, activities that are accessible and enjoyable can add to the celebrations. Here are a few examples of suggestions for children and families:

Bake holiday cookies: Depending on the child’s age, making some no-bake cookies can be a simple and flavorful activity. Sugar cookies can be arranged in a variety of shapes to allow for a more tactile experience.
Make gingerbread houses: Building and decorating a holiday house “allows your child to be messy and enjoy the many different textures.” The house can be built from a variety of sources, such as prepared items like Pop Tarts or precut kits. This can also allow for an opportunity to describe each part of the house while decorating, comparing it to the family’s home.
Cook a meal together: Children can gain independence in the kitchen that can have a lasting impact. Utilizing large print or braille recipes and labeling measuring cups with permanent marker or tactile bumps can enhance the experience.
Create an “ugly sweater:” Children who are visually impaired can join in this holiday tradition by decorating their own sweater or sweatshirt “with their own creative ideas.” Stores like Michaels or Jo-Ann Fabrics offer a variety of fabrics and textures which can be affixed with fabric glue and Velcro. For children with low vision who can stitch a design, low vision sewing aids can provide “greater independence and accessibility.”
Put together a storybox: Storyboxes can help to enhance the telling of a tale while making it multisensory and more interactive. These boxes provide the opportunity to explore the real objects included in the story. When possible, it’s helpful to use partial textures from the actual story. For example, in the book If You Take a Mouse to the Movies, the container can include popcorn, yarn or string, real or artificial snow, a carrot, blanket, and other objects described in the book.
Create “snow paint:” Mixing equal parts of white glue and shaving cream can make snow paint. This can be brushed onto card stock and, when dry, can provide a tactile cold weather experience.
Design a tactile holiday tree: Felt and Velcro can be used as ingredients for creating a tactile tree that is easy to put together as well as take apart. It can also be added as an ornament on a Christmas tree by adding a pipe cleaner loop.

For additional details and more holiday craft, cooking, and other activity ideas, check out the following resources: the APH (American Printing House for the Blind) ConnectCenter webpage on Making Winter Holiday Traditions Accessible; Path to Literacy’s blog on Story Box Ideas for Holiday Stories; and a WonderBaby article describing 10 Sensory Christmas Activities for Children who are Blind.