More than 10 million people in North America are visually impaired, according to the American Foundation for the Blind. These people learn to live independently and productively, as well as enjoy leisure activities that keep them entertained and healthy. In fact, blind and visually impaired people are able to enjoy most things with small modifications.
Card games present an entertaining activity for the blind. Large-print or Braille playing cards are available for the blind or visually impaired. Alternatively, you can use a Braille writer to imprint the Braille letters onto ordinary playing cards. For example, use the Braille letter "J" for jack or "Q" for queen. Card holders are available that hold your cards for you so other players cannot see the hand you’ve been dealt.
Board and Computer Games
Braille and tactile versions of popular board games are available for the blind, including Monopoly, Scrabble and chess. Scrabble, for example, has been modified to have raised boundaries between the squares so you can fit the letters into them. Braille letter tiles and Braille captions indicate the word score. Checkers can be adapted by gluing a textured surface to the center of either the red or black squares for blind people to differentiate between them. A variety of leisure activities for the blind are available in terms of computer games. Some games can be played over the Web, while others have a screen reader with a speech synthesizer to read the screen.
Woodworking is a popular hobby that uses hand or power tools to transform wood into objects. Losing your vision does not mean you have to stop woodworking; it simply means you will need to adapt your tools and follow safety rules more closely. Always indicate where cuts should be prior to making them by using contrasting tactile markings or raised pieces of tape. Also, apply Braille labels to your tools and their locations to keep them well organized. Learn specialized techniques for using power tools from a trained craftsperson skilled at teaching the blind.
One leisure activity for the blind is sewing or needlework. This activity can be soothing since it requires a lot of repetitive motion. After you get the hang of it, sewing, even with limited or no sight, is simple and often requires no modifications. Use self-threading needles or a wire loop needle threader to get started, and be sure to keep your thimble handy. Knitting needles and crochet hooks require no modifications and can make scarves, afghans or sweaters.
Several outdoor leisure activities exist for the blind. If you enjoy running, it is possible to start running with a sighted running partner. You will need to start by grasping the guide’s arm above the elbow or use a tether, which keeps you in contact with a short rope. Swimming, skiing, bowling and rock climbing are all activity options for the blind that are possible with small modifications.
Christina McDonald-Legg has been writing about health, wellness and travel since 1999. Her articles have appeared in "Colures Magazine" (London), "The Sunday Times" (Dublin), "The Connacht Tribune" (Galway) and "The Seattle Post-Intelligencer," and been featured online by the U.K. Department of Health. McDonald-Legg holds a Master of Arts in journalism from the National University of Ireland.