Help your toddler to learn

Most toddlers learn through sight, so your vision impaired toddler may have less information available to them to learn. But there are many things you can do to help them learn using all their senses to teach them about the world around them.


Learning through play

Children learn through play, although this doesn’t have to mean toys. Your toddler will also enjoy playing with objects like bowls, spoons and magazines.

Games your toddler may enjoy include:

  • putting things in boxes or drawers
  • sorting things into categories or sizes
  • posting things into boxes with different shaped holes

When choosing toys for your toddler, remember you know them best. Here are some things to think about:

  • watch your child playing with different toys to learn the size of the toys your child finds easiest to see
  • if your child has some vision, try to find toys with high contrast stripes or mirrors that attract their attention
  • stimulate their other senses with sensory toys that have different textures and can make different sounds
  • toys that roll such as cars and balls can help to attract your child with movement
  • cause and effect toys can be fun for your child, try to find ones that make sound rather than just having a visual ‘reward’


Learning through touch

Touching things around them is one of the most important ways your toddler will learn.

Their most sensitive areas are fingertips, lips and tongue. Your toddler may use their mouths to explore objects longer than other children.

You can help them learn through touch in the following ways:

  • encourage them to explore a range of objects with their hands
  • name objects, clothes and body parts when they touch them
  • play games like finding the right object from a selection
  • harder objects with definite shapes and different textures are best
  • show them how to move their hands in a systematic way, for example, top to bottom, then left to right and so on


Learning through sight

If your child has some vision encourage them to use it by:

  • working out their best position for looking - observe where and how close they hold a toy to their eyes
  • making sure the lighting is right for them - bright enough but without causing glare
  • putting things against a plain background
  • using larger toys with bright colours and a lot of contrast

Activities you can try include:



Read books with your child every day if you can – those with large colourful pictures and textures are best.

You can use books that come with a CD and let them touch the book while listening.

Find out more about teaching your toddler how to read.


There are lots of way to help your child's development. The ‘Developmental journal for babies and children with vision impairment’ explains the many activities you can do to help develop relationships, mobility, communication, playing and learning, all the way through to independent self-care.

Read the ‘Developmental journal for babies and children with vision impairment’


RSBC’s Family Support Service can help you with:

  • practical advice about your child’s development
  • support when you feel overwhelmed
  • understanding your child’s vision impairment better
  • living as a family and being supportive of each other

Call us on 0203 198 0225 or email:

Published: December 2017 

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