If your children are feeling a bit jaded by their toys, there’s an easy way to spice up their games — blind-fold them! Temporarily losing their sight can encourage your children to develop their other senses, it teaches compassion to those who are blind, and it demonstrates how simple tasks can instantly become almost impossible!

This idea wasn’t initially my own. I learned it from my mother when she visited recently. The girls responded brilliantly to this twist on their usual games so we’ve started playing with a blind-fold more often!

Blindfolded Calista plays with Manou and her sisters, September 2010
When she was here, Manou taught us this simple game of passing a marble around a circle of people and then asking the blind-folded person to guess who has it.

Wooden puzzles are a great introduction to blind-fold games because older children don’t find the puzzles threatening, and it’s a stationery activity without the risk of bumping into things.

Doing a puzzle with a blindfold on, September 2010
We take a wooden drop-in puzzle that suits a 2yo, and with her eyes blinded, it becomes quite tricky for our 5yo!

Doing a puzzle, September 2010
If the puzzle is too hard, we give hints on how to move the piece to the correct place (left, right, up, down) and when to rotate it so it drops into place.

I even had a try with the blind-fold on. (Aisha took the photo, so that’s why I’m headless.)

Doing a puzzle with a blindfold on, September 2010
It wasn't as easy as it looked, and if I hadn't been familiar with the puzzle, it's possible that I would have had no chance of completing it with the blindfold on!

Other common games are also reinvented with a blind-fold. Take building blocks, for instance. The blind-fold makes them a very tactile game. Instead of simply building randomly, you can ask older children to attempt to create a pyramid or build a house or bridge.

Blind-folded fun, September 2010
I started out with a tie as a blindfold. But Brioni's symmetrical building made me suspicious.

Blind-folded fun, September 2010
"Can you see, Brioni?" I asked. "Yes," she laughed.

Blind-folded fun, September 2010
So a beanie was used to completely cover the face, removing the possibility of cheating.

Blind-folded fun, September 2010
And then it was Aisha's turn. I asked her to try to build a very tall tower.

Other fun things to try with blind-folds include tasting foods, identifying sounds, feeling objects and walking around with a guide. Why don’t you try it at your home?