For nearly four years, the Great Expectations program has produced original, high-interest, fun, and free activities especially for blind kids and their families. We start with a popular picture book, and add braille to it, so blind and sighted family members can read them together. But that’s just the beginning! From there, we use the book’s story, themes, and ideas to create a set of activities that enable blind kids to explore all aspects of the book in greater detail, through songs, tactile play, picture descriptions, body movement, engaged listening, arts and crafts projects, inspiring real-life stories, and much more. The goal is to promote active reading experiences for children with visual impairments.
Each book in the program explores a completely different topic, including some subjects that might seem difficult to broach with a visually impaired person. It might seem counterintuitive to talk about different colors and shades, for example, with a blind child. But of course colors are a part everyday life and conversation, and blind kids need to know as much about colors and their significance as any other kid in order to fully participate in their lives. With that mindset, we use popular kids’ books as the starting point for discussion, activities, and lots of fun.
Dragons Love Tacos, our first book in the series, gives us the chance to talk about textures, preparing food, and organizing a (taco) party.
The Day the Crayons Quit, perhaps our most popular series selection thus far, offers ideas for talking about colors with blind kids.
Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes is all about orientation and mobility, maps, and mazes.
Iggy Peck, Architect discusses building and buildings, architecture, and team work.
Amazing Grace focuses on theater, presentation, storytelling, and more.
And Measuring Penny delves into measuring, graphing, comparisons – and even what it takes to care for a pet!
With our newest book, Lemonade in Winter, we learn all about money and running a business from Pauline and her younger brother John-John as they open a lemonade stand in the middle of winter. By the end of the story, they’ve made less money than they spent on supplies, but learned some valuable lessons along the way. The free activities we’ve created to go with this print/braille book explore all aspects of money and business, and tease out some of the less obvious themes in the book, like teamwork and following directions. Here’s the full activity list for Lemonade in Winter:
Don’t want to accidentally pay $20 for a $5 ice cream? Use your sense of touch to tell different coins apart and play fun games to practice making different coin combinations. Also learn folding techniques and technology options to keep track of your different paper bills.
Whether you get money as a gift or earn it by doing chores, you have several options for what to do with it. Learn reasons and strategies for spending, saving, and sharing, and then make your own spend, save, and share jars.
Looking for a fun and unique way to keep your money safe? Use a Japanese method of paper folding, called origami, to create your own, unique mini wallet.
Pauline and John-John’s lemonade stand doesn’t yield the results they expected (selling tons of lemonade and making lots of money!), but they have fun anyway and learn that there’s more than one definition of success! Play a team story building game that shows how any new adventure can bring unexpected outcomes.
When you teach a friend or sibling something new, it’s important to give good instructions. The opposite is also true! When you want to learn something new, it’s important to follow instructions well. Try the 10 Step Game, the Right Way to Make Slime activity, and the hilarious Exact Instructions Challenge to see how good you are at reading carefully and following directions.
Meet Jessica Beecham, a blind business woman with a passion for making health and wellness accessible to everyone. Jessica was a founding member of the Sports and Recreation Division of the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado; and is currently a co-founder and Program Director at a popular fitness company in Colorado called WE Fit Wellness. See what Jessica has to say about succeeding in the business world, and review Pauline and John-John’s lemonade stand business plan.
Whether or not you run a lemonade stand, it never hurts to have a handful of jokes to add fun to the day. Here are more money jokes than you can count, and enough jokes about lemons to lift even the sourest mood.
Sing along with a song about making money at your lemonade stand and practice counting by units of 25 as you rake in the dough.
Enjoy detailed descriptions of the illustrations in the book, all created especially for you!
TVIs, parents, and young students will discover fun ways to experience picture books on a deeper level with Great Expectations. Check out the website for dozens and dozens of FREE online activities!
Let us know which activities you tried out and what you enjoyed the most! And let us know what themes and concepts you’d like us to explore in the next book in the program!