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Parenting Corner- Puffy paint activity for children with visual impairments

Sensory play is important for the growth of gross motor skills in children. Through games, toys and sensory activities, children can be taught to use their hands, body movement to hold things, grab, make or break objects.

For children with visual impairments, using the sense of touch and smell is crucial for life. People who are blind or have low vision use their sense of touch to feel and understand things around them. They try to sense the world around them by reading braille, feeling textures, holding things to understand their shapes and size.

Crafts and art is a fun way of learning to enhance the sensory perception and to motivate the children to use their senses and imagination.

One simple activity that can be done at home with children who have visual impairments is playing with puffy paint. This is a special paint that is thick and can be used to create art that is raised and can be felt by touch.

Puffy paint can be used to draw and create tactile paintings, shapes and is a great learning tool. Children can be taught about various shapes by drawing them on paper using puffy paint such as lines, hearts, circles, squares etc.

Aishwarya Pillai , a Rehabilitation Counsellor at the L V Prasad eye institute in Hyderabad is an artist herself and tries various mediums to create tactile art.

I feel the idea of homemade puffed up paint will not only ensure that children have a fun time but will also help them in learning about tactile art. Through art and crafts, children can learn faster and this also gives a boost to their self-confidence.Aishwarya Pillai, Rehabilitation Counselor , L V Prasad eye institute

Parents can either buy puffy paints from the market or make their own at home using simple ingredients and spend fun time with children.

Here is a simple recipe for making your own puffy paint at home. You will need the below ingredients.

- All-purpose flour

- Baking powder

- Salt

- Food coloring-optional

- Water

First make self-rising flour, by mixing a cup of all-purpose flour with one and half tea spoon baking powder and 1/4 tea spoon salt.

Now to make puffy paint follow the below steps:

- 1 tablespoon self-rising flour in a small bowl.

- Food coloring in the colors of your choice and this step is optional.

- 1 tablespoon salt

- Add water as per the consistency you want, start with a little bit at first.

Mix everything and voila! You have your own puffy paint. You can keep the paint in a bowl and use Q tips, fingers to paint or fill in a plastic cone and squeeze it out or put in a bottle with a nozzle.

"The concept does sound very interesting and worth trying. Art is a great way of learning and a medium for artistic expression, says Santosh Salian, member of BGFI- Blind Graduates' Forum of India.

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