Communicating with others verbally in a variety of situations is one of the soft skills for students to develop at the elementary level. I like using blindfold activities help students develop verbal communication skills as they determine the best vocabulary words to use to reach a desired outcome. Through the years, it’s been rewarding to see kids start to understand the importance of their verbal communication through blindfold activities. Some students feel frustrated with each other and want to give up. Other students stop and problem solve by choosing different vocabulary. Other students find quick success when they choose not to rush and understand that “slow and steady wins the race.”
Prior to participating in the blindfold activities, students brainstorm together what words to use in order to successfully guide someone who is not able to see to perform a variety of tasks. In all the activities below, students are only able to use words to guide their blindfolded partners. They are not allowed guide by touch or using their hands. The blindfolds I used are from S&S Worldwide.
This is a great introductory activity. Students get in pairs and take turns guiding their blindfolded partner around the gym without running into anyone or anything. This activity enables students to practice and discover the best vocabulary words to use to guide their partner. Provide time for students to reflect and discuss with other students what words were successful for them.
With students in partner groups, I list a variety of simple tasks (at least 4) on the dry erase board or i project the task list on a screen. Below are some of my ideas, but you may think of others that will work better for your students.
- Tip over 3 cones which are standing randomly all over the gym floor.
- Touch 5 poly spots which are randomly placed on the gym floor. You could also suggest a color pattern to follow.
- Place bean bags in hula hoops randomly on the gym floor. (I use about 8 hoops filled with all my bean bags. Deck rings, critters, or other items will work just as well.) Students guide their blindfolded partner to 3 hula hoops, guide them to pick up one item from each hoop and place it in another hula hoop.
- High five another blindfolded student.
- Kick 3 balls that are scattered on the gym floor.
- Hand a scarf to the blindfolded partner. Guide the blindfolded partner to toss and catch the scarf 2 times
- Step over a hurdle.
- Use hands to pick up or tip over bowling pins which are randomly placed on the floor.
- Scatter yarn balls on the floor. Pick up one yarn ball and place it in a bucket.
- Guide your partner to the dry erase board and help them try to write their name.
Students will work in pairs. With a variety of equipment scattered on the gym floor, students will guide their blindfolded partners through the jungle to the other side of the gym without stepping on anything. Partners will switch places when they make it to the other side or if they step on something. I also like to play jungle sounds to help create a jungle atmosphere and make it more challenging to hear the verbal communication.
Suggested items to place on the floor for the jungle:
- Any rubber critters (wild animals)
- Noodles (alligators)
- Cones (trees)
- Jump ropes (snakes)
- Hula Hoops (ponds)
- Bean bags (dangerous insects)
I like to share with my students about Jake Olson, football long snapper who is blind. You can find an appropriate video about Jake on the internet to show your students.
For the activity, the students get into groups of 3 or 4. One student will put on the blindfold and hike the ball to a student standing about 5 feet away. Another student hands the ball to the blindfolded student and provides feedback based on the result of their hiking the ball. After 3-5 attempts, students switch places so that everyone gets an opportunity to hike the ball, provide feedback, and receive the hiked ball.
Blind Color Sort
I use a variety of items in 6 specific colors. I place each color hula hoop on the floor with the other items scattered randomly outside the hula hoops. Partners will guide their blindfolded partner to pick up any item and place it in the correct color hoop. Partners will switch places and continue sorting items by color.
About the Author:
Jason Leach is a Hardin-Simmons Graduate. This is his 24th year of teaching physical education. He is currently teaching at Independence Elementary in Keller ISD. Jason loves to learn new creative ways to present engaging lessons to his students. He gets many of these ideas from other PE teachers on Twitter, PE Voxer chats groups, and YouTube channels. Twitter: @jkleach01