We are big Melissa & Doug fans here at Casa de Phouka. The toys are well-made and durable; they also tend to be made of wood, which is our preference in a plastic-filled world. Their toys remind me of the ones I grew up with, 30-odd years ago, that encouraged me to use my imagination and were designed to last a lifetime.
While birthday-gift hunting for one of Peanut’s friends, we discovered that Melissa & Doug make Sound Puzzles. These puzzles are designed so that when the right piece is placed in the right slot, it makes a noise. I thought this would be an excellent toy for a burgeoning braille reader: with the addition of a few braille labels, Peanut’s friend could match the name of an animal with the sound it makes and get practice with manipulatives to boot!
This was one of the quickest braille jobs I’ve done: all I did was braille the name of the animal on a sheet of sticky braille paper, then cut and stick the label on the critter. If you wanted to reinforce the braille, you could make two sets of labels: one for the puzzle piece, and one for the slot it goes in. With about 20 minutes’ work and two AAA batteries, you can have a fun, noisy toy for your beginning braille reader.