It’s easy to feel overwhelmed as the parent or loved one of a vision-impaired child. But you may be surprised by just how many popular children’s toys are accessible to the partially or fully blind (whether they are designed to be or not).
While there are many great options to choose from, one of the best toys for vision-impaired toddlers and babies is the Litand Soft Stacking Blocks set. These silicone building blocks feature raised sides for sensory play and tactile identification of basic shapes, numbers, and more.
|Litand Soft Stacking Blocks
|Manhattan Toy Playful Pony Activity Center
|My First Green Toys Stacking Cups
- Best Toys For Vision-Impaired Children 2021
- Best Overall — Litand Soft Stacking Blocks
- Best Activity Center — Manhattan Toy Playful Pony Activity Center
- Best Budget Option — My First Green Toys Stacking Cups
- Best Art Toy — My First Crayola Touch Lights
- Best Tactile Toy — TickiT Touch & Match Board
- Best Musical Instrument — Hape Pound & Tap Bench
- Best Plush Toy — VTech Baby Lil’ Critters Moosical Beads
- Best Matching Toy — Learning Resources Shape Sorting Cupcakes
- Best for Fine Motor Skills — Melissa & Doug Wooden Latches Board
- How to Choose Toys For a Vision-Impaired Child
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Toys For Vision-Impaired Children 2021
Best Overall — Litand Soft Stacking Blocks
Litand Soft Stacking Blocks
A set of textured stacking blocks that encourage creativity and tactile perception.
Building blocks are a must-have in any baby or toddler toy collection. The Litand Soft Stacking Blocks are ideal for all children, including those with any type of vision impairment.
While all toy blocks are fairly accessible, this set is particularly great for tactile learning. Every block features unique raised patterns, shapes, and numbers that can be felt just as easily as seen.
Made of food-grade silicone, these building blocks are safe for active teethers and curious toddlers. Litand Soft Stacking Blocks are recommended for children as young as 6 months old.
Each set includes 12 different blocks — invest in multiple sets for even more building opportunities!
Best Activity Center — Manhattan Toy Playful Pony Activity Center
Manhattan Toy Playful Pony Activity Center
A multi-faceted toddler activity center accessible to all vision-impaired children.
Don’t be fooled by the stylish appearance. The Manhattan Toy Playful Pony Activity Center is far more than just a piece of nursery or playroom decor!
This toddler-sized pony features a variety of activities to encourage fine motor skill development in children as young as 1 year old.
The Playful Pony Activity Center does include a handful of visual elements — e.g., printed letters and numerals. But the sheer number of tactile activities jammed into this toy more than make up for it.
Best Budget Option — My First Green Toys Stacking Cups
My First Green Toys Stacking Cups
Simple yet engaging stacking cups made of food-safe plastic sourced from recycled milk jugs.
It’s easy to take the simplest toys for granted, especially when it comes to accessibility. The My First Green Toys Stacking Cups are a prime example of how simplicity does not necessarily equal lack of value!
Stacking cups can help teach basic concepts like counting and size comparison. They can be used in the bath, placed in the dishwasher, and are approved for indoor and outdoor playtime.
My First Green Toys Stacking Cups are made of recycled plastic rated safe for contact with food. Recommended for children ages 6 months and older.
Best Art Toy — My First Crayola Touch Lights
My First Crayola Touch Lights
This unique touch-enabled toy lets children doodle using colored lights and sounds.
The My First Crayola Touch Lights kit is a great tool for encouraging creativity in toddlers with partial vision impairment.
Children can easily select from 12 different light colors and 6 songs to play while they doodle. (A Silent Mode is also included for much-needed quiet time!) The gel-filled “screen” creates a mild sensory experience.
This battery-powered toy offers a reusable, zero-mess doodling surface without the risk or expense of a traditional tablet. Ideal for children 2 years and older.
Best Tactile Toy — TickiT Touch & Match Board
TickiT Touch & Match Board
Children can identify and match a variety of textures using this touch-focused toy.
While all children benefit from tactile learning, the TickiT Touch & Match Board particularly stands out as one of the best toys for toddlers with vision impairment or blindness.
This one-of-a-kind sensory toy features 12 unique textures. Children are encouraged to not only feel but identify and match each texture on the board with its coordinating disc.
Designed for children 12 months and older, the TickiT Touch & Match Board helps teach motor skills and tactile perception. It can also be used to develop language and reasoning skills as children learn to describe the featured textures and compare them to materials found around the house!
Best Musical Instrument — Hape Pound & Tap Bench
Hape Pound & Tap Bench
Build confidence in music-making with this accessible drum and xylophone set.
Music is a universal language. And with a toy like the Hape Pound & Tap Bench, you can start developing this valuable art form as early as possible.
With a “drum” set and xylophone that can be adapted as needed, this is one of the best toys for visually impaired babies learning spatial awareness and how to be confident interacting with objects.
This starter instrument set is perfect for children just discovering the world of music. Hape recommends this toy for children ages 12 months to 3 years.
Best Plush Toy — VTech Baby Lil’ Critters Moosical Beads
VTech Baby Lil’ Critters Moosical Beads
This cuddly plush cow features lights and sounds ideal for stimulating blind or vision-impaired babies.
Plush toys are remarkably accessible right out of the box. If you’re looking for a stuffed playmate that offers a bit more interactivity than your average Teddy Bear, check out the VTech Baby Lil’ Critters Moosical Beads.
This adorable stuffed cow features sliding beads, lights, and buttons for interactive play. Pressing the buttons activates over 30 different songs, sounds, and sayings. Many of the sound effects help teach basic concepts like letter and number recognition.
The VTech Baby Lil’ Critters Moosical Beads toy is recommended for children 0 to 24 months old and is safe for independent play in a crib or enclosure.
Best Matching Toy — Learning Resources Shape Sorting Cupcakes
Learning Resources Shape Sorting Cupcakes
A classic shape-matching toy that can be used with touch alone.
When it comes to tactile shape recognition and fine motor skills, the Learning Resources Shape Sorting Cupcakes set is one of the best toys for visually impaired toddlers.
Every durable plastic cupcake is made up of a cake base and frosting top. Children must match the shapes on each piece to create a tray full of yummy desserts!
The Learning Resources Shape Sorting Cupcakes include 8 cupcakes (16 pieces total) and a “baking tray” for storage. This toy is recommended for children ages 18 months and up.
Best for Fine Motor Skills — Melissa & Doug Wooden Latches Board
Melissa & Doug Wooden Latches Board
Expose children to a variety of common latch types with this touch-centric activity board.
Children are incredibly resourceful regardless of abilities. But the Melissa & Doug Wooden Latches Board is still a wonderful way to teach tactile perception and confidence from a young age.
This wooden activity board consists of 6 miniature doors sealed with various latches. Each latch is modeled after hardware children will encounter in places (like public restroom stalls).
Of course, this isn’t just one of the best toys for blind children. All kids ages 3 years and older can benefit from this unique educational toy!
How to Choose Toys For a Vision-Impaired Child
With or without perfect vision, children go through various developmental stages as they age. So a toy that is safe and engaging for an infant may not be ideal for a toddler or someone older.
Type of Impairment
There is not just one type of vision impairment. Even the term “blindness” encompasses a variety of experiences depending on the individual.
For children with partial vision impairment, toys that light up or feature high-contrast colors can be great options.
If you’re unsure what type of visual cues the child in question can see, it’s best to err on the side of caution. Opt for a toy that can be used without any visual cues at all!
Some toys are 100% accessible with zero modifications. Dolls and stuffed toys are common examples. Other toys, like building blocks or stacking cups, are also extremely accessible even if playtime looks a bit different among vision-impaired children.
But that still leaves a large portion of the toy market that is partially or entirely inaccessible to those with vision impairments.
Avoid toys that require reading, color recognition, or other visual cues during play. While these are relatively few and far between when it comes to toys designed for infants, this becomes a bigger problem in later years.
On the other hand, some of the best toys for blind toddlers and babies feature visual elements that are not crucial to the toys themselves.
Frequently Asked Questions
At what age is vision impairment normally diagnosed?
The average age of diagnosis ranges drastically, largely dependent on the symptoms and initial cause of vision loss.
Blindness may be diagnosed as early as 3 months of age — some cases are identified at birth. However, more subtle vision impairments can go undiagnosed for several years (often being detected when the child enters school or begins reading).
When should children start learning Braille?
Generally, children can start learning to identify letters and numerals written in Braille at about 3 years old. But, according to the Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness, actually using Braille to read or write may prove difficult until the age of 5 or older.
In other words, blind or visually impaired children can learn Braille at about the same time as their peers learn the standard English alphabet.
Last update on 2021-12-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API