In a groundbreaking move that combines playfulness with education, LEGO has launched braille bricks designed to teach the Braille alphabet. After four years of meticulous development and testing, these bricks are not just a boon for the blind but a tool for learners of all abilities.
LEGO’s new “Play with Braille” set features both the Braille letters and numbers and the corresponding symbol or letter.
Made for Everyone
This combination makes Braille accessible to everyone, irrespective of their sight, while turning the process of learning Braille into a kinesthetic adventure.
Isolated From Family
When navigating a world filled with visual stimuli, being blind or partially sighted can feel isolating, especially when your family is sighted.
President of the WBU Speaks Out
Martin Abel-Williamson, the President of the World Blind Union shares, “For blind and partially sighted children, and adults for that matter, it makes all the difference if they can share their journey of learning braille with the people they love the most.”
More Than Literacy
Abel-Williamson continues, “For the blind community, braille is not just literacy; it’s our entry to independence and inclusion into this world.”
Free Lego Sets for the Blind
During the testing phase, LEGO’s innovative Braille Bricks were donated by the LEGO foundation to organizations and schools that provide specialized support for children with visual impairments, and the results speak for themselves.
Changing Family Time
The impact of LEGO Braille Bricks is palpable in the lives of children like Olivia. Lisa Taylor, a mother of two daughters, recounts how Olivia’s introduction to these bricks at school sparked her curiosity for braille. “We can now play with braille together as a family, and she can introduce braille to her little sister in a way they both love,” Lisa shares.
Build on Older Sets
Thankfully, these bricks are completely compatible with other LEGO sets. Now families like the Taylors can integrate their old lego sets with the new braille versions, allowing for bigger and more inclusive builds.
No More Playing Alone
Lisa Taylor shares, “Braille bricks are accessible for her without being really different for other kids, so she gets to play and learn just like every other child.”
The “Play with Braille” set, designed for children aged 6 and older, contains 287 bricks in five vibrant colors, accompanied by two baseplates for creative building. Priced at $89.99 (79.99 GBP), this set is exclusively available online at LEGO.com.
Guides and Games Available
To guide families on their braille adventure, a series of 108 play starters are available on the LEGO website.
These interactive activities teach players how to orient, attach, and stack the bricks, all while playing beloved games like Tic-Tac-Toe. Other activities on the LEGO website include Body Braille Twister, Battle, Rock Paper Scissors and Golden Nugget.
Learn With Lego
LEGO even found ways to incorporate academic lessons on multiplication and division, vowel and consonant identification, syllable counting and more.
Short and Sweet
The videos range from 5-30 minutes long, and can be done at home or in the classroom.
Be My Eyes
In a further commitment to inclusivity, the LEGO Group has partnered with the Be My Eyes mobile app. This app connects blind and partially sighted individuals with companies for live video calls to assist with everyday tasks.
LEGO Customer Service colleagues will provide confidential live visual assistance through the app, offering general product support.
Building a Brighter Future
Every child deserves to experience the world through play. Hopefully, other toy companies will take a page from LEGO’s playbook and create more Braille-friendly toys in the future.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Yavdat. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.