The call for society to become more inclusive of children with special needs and disabilities has become louder with many efforts of support going mainstream. Fashion brand Gap featured kids with Down Syndrome in their ad campaigns. Lego recently debuted wheelchair-bound mini-figures, while American Dolls came up with a diabetes care kit that kids who suffer the dieasese can use to carry their insulin.
Our fervent hope that these campaigns don't go the trendy route (we hope it becomes the norm) got another boost after we saw the following toys.
Building blocks offers heaps of benefits to a child's development and learning. Play, after all, is the best way kids learn. Aside from using it as a toy, the Braille Bricks project aims to help blind children learn to read and spell through play, as each building block features one Braille letter.
Braille Bricks was co-founded by Brazil-based non-profit, Dorina Nowill Foundation For The Blind. Currently, they have manufactured 300 learning kids for kids. The best thing about it is the toy design is free to share, copy, or adapt! Anyone or any company around the world can reproduce this brilliant toy under the Creative Commons license. This means that those who are not blind can also gain Braille literacy. You can try it now. Go to the website and at the bottom, you'll be asked to write your first and last name. It will generate an image for your new avatar with your initials in Braille Bricks that you can save and produce!
Talk about breathing a new life into broken toys. Japan-based Second Life Toys is create awareness about the lack of child organ donors. It is a global problem that is especially felt in Japan, which is years behind the rest of the world when it comes to organ transplant.
Second Toys is helping the public understand what organ donation is by giving new limbs to old broken stuffed toys. You can donate old plushies to be a toy "donor" or the toy to receive "transplant." Donated toys are sent to Japan where they will receive "transplant operation." The toy donor will receive a thank you letter from the owner of the toy that received the transplant. It's a rewarding pseudo-transplant experience where a broken toy educates kids and grown-ups and continues to provide happiness.