I love LEGO bricks. I grew up playing with them, and they are the ultimate toy in my opinion. The imagination and creativity that is fostered by play with LEGO bricks are unmatched by any other toy on the market. Which is why I am super excited to hear that LEGO is developing Braille Bricks to help Blind Children learn braille.
Play As Learning
LEGOs are already a great option for children in general and equally so for children with disabilities to play with as a toy. The raised top and indented bottoms are great sensory toys and help guide intuitive play as you assemble them. I love technology and it can do a lot to help make people’s lives easier. Especially those with disabilities.
LEGOs are a wonderful toy that can spark creativity, problem-solving, and other awesome skills. And what better way to learn than through play. The gameplay is meaningful. How so? What is meaningful play?
Meaningful play gives the child the option to choose what he or she wants to do. In other words, it is open play or in the case of Minecraft open world. It is fun and enjoyable play. It is play that evolves spontaneously. I remember as a child playing LEGOs with my siblings. Our play was constantly evolving as we built, destroyed, and rebuilt creations of our own imaginations.
More Than Stats–Time For Action
19 million children around the world are visually impaired and 1.4 million of these children have irreversible blindness according to the World Health Organization. The lack of learning braille is leading to larger percentages of unemployment among the blind according to statistics for Europe.
The new Braile bricks will be compatible with LEGO’s current system of play so children can use them alongside their other LEGOs. The set will contain 250 bricks and will be used by children and teachers alike. It will soon be available in a multitude of languages.
What About Your Children’s Ministry?
The final LEGO Braille Bricks kit is expected to launch in 2020 and will be distributed free of charge to institutions in LEGO’s partner networks. A set of these would make a great addition to any church looking to reach out to blind children. Having tools like this could help any ministry reach the blind and visually impaired community. You could use them to spell out keywords from a Bible verse or story.
Write out a whole verse and take some letters away and have the child place the missing letters to win a prize. Lego’s system of play can be used to teach God’s Word! With the low percentage of Braile literacy among visually impaired and blind children, it may even become necessary for a church that reaches the blind to become actively involved in promoting braille literacy.
This initiative by LEGO Foundation highlights something every church needs to take into account. How well do we serve and reach people, particularly children, in this instance, with impairments? Are there children in our churches and communities we’re missing?
Does your church cater for impaired children? Any ideas and tools to share with us?