Inventions Month in Genius Words: Learn About Braille With This Real-World Activity

May 27, 2021 / DIY & Printable

Genius content refreshes every month! This month is all about inventions. From the internet to your favorite pair of shoes, every invention grew from an idea in someone’s head. At Osmo, we think it’s fun to learn about how! Follow along for a month of special game updates, real-life genius stories, and real-world activities.

Share this week’s interactive, printable Inventions Month content with your child by clicking the button below, and scroll down for a preview!

Game Update

In Osmo Words for kids, find your way through an epic dance party at the Inventions Museum, spelling famous inventions as you go. Only available this month!

Genius Spotlight: Louis Braille

Inventions aren’t always gadgets and gizmos. Sometimes they are systems built to improve people’s lives. When Louis Braille was 3, he became blind after getting into an accident in his dad’s workshop. He first learned to read as a teenger, attending the National Institute for Blind Children in Paris, France. At that time, blind students were taught using “embossed” text. If you’ve ever received a birthday card where the letters stick up, you have seen embossed text. Those with blindness would read by feeling the raised letters with their fingers.

Louis, however, became fascinated with a different system called “night writing,” created by a French army officer. With “night writing,” soldiers used a series of 12 dots on paper, configured in different ways to mean different letters, so they could communicate safely under the cover of darkness. Louis thought dots were easier to tell apart than the shape of small letters but didn’t like how you couldn’t feel all 12 with one finger. He modified it into a very efficient 6-dot system, with 63 different configurations, which has been utilized for almost 200 years today!

Real-World Activity: Begin to Learn Braille

Have your child this educator-approved activity at home. This week’s printable has instructions with photos!

Braille created an entire alphabet around the sense of touch. And you can learn it! Grab a parent, 2 pieces of white paper, 2 pushpins, 2 markers, and some cardboard.

  1. Write out a short (3-5 word) message on a piece of paper.
  2. Using the key below, mark down the Braille version underneath your letters. Keep the marker dots small.
  3. Turn the paper over and push the pin through the dots you marked on the front.
  4. Switch messages with your partner and feel their Braille, using the key to translate what they wrote! The more you read this way, the faster you’ll be able to decipher messages.