Lego is coming out with a new line of bricks created to help blind and visually impaired kids learn Braille. The new Lego Braille Bricks will help youngsters learn the touch writing system in a “playful and engaging way.” They’ll be “fully compatible” with existing Lego bricks and will feature the studs used for characters in the Braille alphabet, as well as printed characters so sighted people can read them, too.
The final set of Braille bricks will include about 250 bricks, covering the entire Braille alphabet, numbers zero to nine, math symbols, as well as “inspiration for teaching and interactive games.” They’re currently being tested in schools in Portuguese, Danish, English, and Norwegian and Spanish, French, and German versions will be tested later this year. Eventually, the brick sets will be distributed for free to institutions through partner organizations.
It seems fewer kids are learning to read Braille these days because of access to audiobooks and computer programs available, but organizations that work with blind and visually impaired people hope these new Legos will inspire kids to learn Braille.
“We know that Braille users are often more independent and have a higher level of education and better employment opportunities,” explains Philippe Chazal, of the European Blind Union. “We strongly believe Lego Braille Bricks can help boost the level of interest in learning Braille, so we’re thrilled that the Lego Foundation is making it possible to further this concept and bring it to children around the world.”