Resource 2: Games that promote understanding of physical disability
Teacher resource for planning or adapting to use with pupils
You can help pupils to understand some of the difficulties that children with physical disabilities face by playing games like those below:
- Bring to school some old stockings or pieces of rope or wool. Give these to pupils and ask them to tie behind their back the arm and hand they usually use to write with. Give each pupil a piece of paper. Explain that the game is to find out who can write the sentence that you are about to read to them in the fastest time, with the neatest handwriting. Read the sentence and then watch what happens! After you have chosen the winner, discuss with pupils how they felt while playing this game and what it must be like for pupils who have a disabled or missing arm/hand. If they are not able to write, ask them to draw a tree.
- Bring to school some pieces of cloth or scarves (or ask pupils to do so) so that half the pupils are able to tie cloth over their eyes. Take the class outside. Tell pupils to work in pairs. The one who has been blindfolded has to walk around a number of obstacles that you have set up – you could use desks and chairs for this – being guided by their partner. Time each pair. If your class is not too large, ask the pairs to swop roles and then time each pair again. The winner is the pair that completes the task in the shortest time, without knocking over any of the obstacles. Afterwards, ask pupils how it felt to be blindfolded and to have to rely on a partner.
- Bring to school enough cotton wool for each pupil to be able to put cotton wool into their ears to prevent them from hearing clearly. Then ask pupils to listen while you give the class a message to write down. The winner is the first pupil to complete writing the message without mistakes. Afterwards ask pupils how they felt when they could not hear clearly and what they could do to help someone with hearing problems.
- If your school can afford to do this, buy a large number of marshmallow sweets. Give enough to each pupil so that his or her mouth is full. Tell them not to chew or swallow any of the marshmallows but to tell a partner the message you have written on the chalkboard. This is very difficult to do and they will realise what it is like to have a speech defect that prevents a person from speaking clearly. At the end, they eat the marshmallows!