Earlier today, Peanut found the See ‘n Say in his room and, for the first time, showed real interest in playing with it. It has a pull-down lever like one of his favorite toys from the Toy Library, features animals and, best yet, it talks! (For the boy whose favorite saying is “Dog! Woof woof!,” the talking is a big plus.) The animal’s name is in print by each critter; when the pointer points at that critter and you pull down the lever, the toy will say, “This is a horse. Neigh! Neigh!” or the like.
While helping Peanut pull the lever, I was thinking, “Wouldn’t it be great if this were in braille so he could learn the animals’ names?” Then I realized that I could totally do that–I could braille Peanut’s toy. As long as you know basic, grade 1 (uncontracted) braille, you can do this, too.
First, I took a braillable sticky sheet and brailled each of the animals’ names on my Perkins Brailler. My sheets are clear plastic, so they don’t block the animals’ pictures at all on the toy, but you could use regular braille paper and glue on the labels in a pinch.
After I got the labels cut out and stuck on the See ‘n Say, I thought it would be nice if there were also a way to feel where the pointer is for each animal. In my memory (I loved the See ‘n Say as a kid, but it’s been a while), sometimes the toy is fussy about how accurate you are in aiming the center pointer. I can imagine how frustrating it would be to want to hear the horse but get stuck with the pig instead. So, I co-opted Peanut’s glitter glue and went to work. I put a red dot at the apex of the center pointer, then added a red dot at the center point of each animal’s picture. This should make it easier to aim when he gets old enough to care which animal is talking to him. The glitter glue dries flat, but it’s still rough, so you can tell where it is; I have no idea how hardy it will be when faced with toddler usage. If you prefer, you might try puffy paint or hot glue (be careful with hot glue not to melt the toy).
See ‘n Says are an old, popular toy, so they should be pretty easy to come by and very inexpensive; if you want to try a newer model, you can get one for as low as $10 directly from Fisher-Price. The braillable labels are more expensive, but they come in a big pack; I found these online at the American Printing House for the Blind (APH). The longest part of the adaptation is waiting for the glue to dry–this is totally doable for even the novice brailler and crafter (just be sure to check your spelling!)
APH Braillable Labels and Sheets:
Fisher-Price’s See ‘n Say Site: