In The World Around Us With Spot for pre-school blind and partially sighted children, we use Spot’s experience of going on a walk to explore different textures, animal life cycles, the importance of dressing to suit the weather and different types of vehicles. As well as the Spot’s First Walk lift-the-flap book with braille and feely pictures under each flap, there are four feely pictures and each is accompanied by a short audio guide with music and sound effects.
“Jessica loved the feely pictures and lift-the-flaps, they definitely added to the enjoyment and participation. I thought it was brilliantly done and Jessica has wanted to read it most days. If only all books came like this.”
To help you and your blind child get the most out of this resource we’ve put together these learning resources which include ideas for activities and further reading.
This tactile picture helps to explain differences in textures – from the rough bark of the tree to the feathers of the woodpecker, the smooth spiral snail’s shell and the fur of the cat.
Join in: To extend learning, go on a nature walk together and discover as many objects with different textures as you can. Take them home and make a tactile mood board or collect them together in tactile object box. Ask your child which objects they enjoy feeling the most. Do they prefer smooth or rough, fur or feathers, hard or soft? If they enjoy craft activities you could give them some thick paint and ask them to create textured pictures – smooth it flat with a lolly stick or build it up into ripples, peaks or swirls.
Reading ideas: Borrow More Pants! and A Porcupine Named Fluffy from our online library. Both these books contain excellent feely pictures which offer a range of tactile experiences – spikes, curves, lines, circles, dots and shapes – to explore and discuss.
This tactile and audio guide explores how an egg hatches into a chick which grows into a chicken; how the cycle progresses from frog spawn to tadpole to frog; and how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly.
Join in: Try acting out the story. Help them to curl themselves into a ball to become the egg. Next they should hatch out into a caterpillar and wriggle along the floor. To act out the chrysalis stage they could wrap a large scarf or piece of fabric around themselves and stand or sit very still. Finally, they can flap around the room as a beautiful butterfly, using the fabric as wings.
Reading ideas: Borrow The Very Hungry Caterpillar from our online library and talk some more about how a caterpillar turns into a chrysalis and then emerges as a butterfly. Who Am I? is a gentle story about the the life cycle of a frog.
Wearing the right clothes
This feely picture shows items from Spot’s wardrobe and talks about when he might need to protect himself from the sun or dress warmly for cold weather.
Join in: Ask the child to fetch clothing from their own wardrobe that they would wear to go for a walk in the rain or if it’s snowing. Try and encourage them to think about other types of weather. Do they understand the importance of wearing high visibility clothes when it is dark? Do they know why it’s a good idea to wear a hat and glasses as sun protection.
To combine feeling textures and wearing the right clothes, discuss and feel clothes made of different materials – cotton, wool, silk, fur, woven and knitted fabrics.
On the tactile picture are a bike, a tractor, car and lorry for your child to feel. The audio guide describes all their features and includes the sounds they make.
Join in: You could extend this topic by playing noises of different vehicles such as trains, aeroplanes and motorbikes and asking if the child can identify them. To help with this activity you could get toy versions of vehicles and a road map for the child to place the vehicles on as they identify them.
To extend imaginative play talk about the ways people use different vehicles – for leisure, jobs and sport. For example, people use cars to go to the shops and drop the children at school; taxi drivers use cars to take people to the airport; the police uses cars as part of their job – chasing criminals and attending road accidents; and fast racing cars are used in the sport of Formula 1.
Reading ideas: There’s lots more vehicles to learn about and explore in I Wish I Were a Pilot including a hot air balloon and plane. Both Flashing Fire Engines and Roaring Rockets contain simple feely pictures of these forms of transport and sound effects too.
Discover all the Touch to See books you can borrow in Spot’s Learning Library