You know what kind of games I love most? The kind that don’t require any vision to play. I love how these sorts of games and puzzles are fully accessible (and fun!) for both sighted and blind kids and that all kids can play them together!
This idea is based on a display we saw at the Museum of Science in Boston a few years ago. They had put together a series of puzzles that you could play using different senses. In this particular puzzle, the idea is to identify the shape hidden inside the puzzle by turning it over and feeling the ball or marble roll around inside. You can’t see the shape… you have to very carefully feel the weight of the ball and try to determine the edges and corners.
It was lots of fun!
So here’s our super easy DIY version made from pie plates, cardboard and marbles.
First figure out how deep your pie plate is and double it. It might say on the package, but if not, you can just use a ruler. Our plates were 1.5″ deep, so we knew that we would have to cut our cardboard strips 3″ wide.
Cut your cardboard strips to the width that is double your plate depth. You can tape the strips together to make them longer if you need to. Make a few strips so you can create more than one shape puzzle!
Use the cardboard strips to make simple shapes in your pie plates and tape them down with duct tape. You want the shapes to be solid and clear, so make sure the corners are well-defined. We made a triangle, a square and left one pie plate empty (so it’s a circle).
Throw in your marble or bead. Try to use something heavy so you can really feel it in the plate and where it’s going. We’ve also found that glass is best since it makes more of a sound in the aluminum plate.
Tape another pie plate on top of the first to make an enclosed puzzle. You’re all set!
Playing with Your Puzzles
Ivan loves feeling the weight of the marble in the pie plate and hearing it move around. He’s very interested in how each one feels different and rolls differently. His favorite puzzle is the circle because there are no obstacles for the marble to hit!
We’ve also had fun playing with different types of marbles and beads to see how they feel or sound different. Large glass marbles are definitely our favorite!
Want an added challenge? You could also create a hidden maze in your pie plates and see if you can work your way through the maze by feeling how your marble moves! How would you play with your hidden shape puzzles?