Building with Lego bricks has stayed a formative and important practice for kids around the world, partly because it’s so easily enjoyed by anyone, regardless of location, language, or ability. Now the company has made its Braille Blocks, a learning toy for children with visual impairments (or who just want to learn the script) available for purchase by anyone who wants them.
The set was introduced back in 2019, but only as a kit that was distributed for free to limited recipients, like people and organizations specializing in teaching kids with vision impairments. After a couple years of feedback, Lego has decided to make the set widely available.
It’s a 287-piece box of special bricks, most of which are of the standard 2×4 variety, which allows room for each letter of the 2×3-dot Braille alphabet and a visible label. This allows them to be teaching tools for sighted and vision-impaired; there’s also a reference sheet with the letters and blocks in order, and a set of starter projects to get things moving.
“For the blind community, braille is not just literacy, it’s our entry to independence and inclusion into this world, and to have LEGO Braille Bricks made available for the wider public is a massive step forward to ensuring more children will want to learn braille in the first place,” said Martine Abel-Williamson, president of the World Blind Union, in Lego’s announcement of the set’s availability.
The set is part of a gradual progression of expanding specialized Braille learning tools from schools to homes. There is also, for instance, a new push to make refreshable Braille displays available and affordable, which would enable e-reader-like functionality as well as composition capabilities.
Accessibility is being baked into more digital products as well, though there are still countless challenges in making sure people with disabilities can interact intuitively with some of the more complex web apps and services.
The Play with Braille Lego set will be shipped in early September, but is available for pre-order in English and French now for $90.