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4 Exciting ESY Activities for Kids with Cortical Visual Impairment

June 29, 2021 No Comments

4 Exciting ESY Activities for Kids with Cortical Visual Impairment

Summer and ESY are here! Planning during ESY can be extra challenging, as teachers recently finished up the school year and often times have to jump right back into teaching. In this blog post, I will share 4 summer ESY activities that are CVI-friendly. These beach-themed activities consist of multi-sensory and high contrast materials, which can be beneficial for all students!

3 pictures are shown in this pin: sensory bin with purple sand and shells, a shell light table activity, and adapted books titled: "The Shells at the Beach."

Adapted Books

Adapted books are so versatile and therefore my favorite of all the ESY activities. There are a variety of adapted or interactive books available, which can make finding ones for your CVI students overwhelming. When finding adapted books, it is best if they have:

  • minimal distractions (few images),
  • a solid background (many students benefit from black),
  • bright, eye-catching images and
  • real images (or clipart images depending on the phase of your students).

In “Shells on the Beach” Adapted Books, students must scan the page and identify a shell. These books have minimal distractions and are perfect to practice visual scanning. There are 2 versions of this book, as well as 2 levels. You can find my CVI Series: Shells on the Beach adapted books here.

The image shows the cover of 2 adapted books, both with the title "The Shells at the Beach." The top book shows clipart images, while the second book shows real images of shells.

Are you looking for another type of summer-themed interactive book for students with CVI? Be sure to check out “Get Ready for Summer: Book Idea for Children with CVI” from Paths to Literacy.

Sensory Bins

As I have discussed before, there are a variety of sensory bins that can be created. I am going to share two beach-themed sensory bins that are visually stimulating to give you ideas for the summer season.

For my “explorer” bin this season, I focused on a beach theme. This bin is simple and includes:

  • shells
  • sand
  • shovel

Depending on the needs of your students, you can use real sand or kinetic sand. I used purple kinetic sand because I like the contrast of the sand against the shells!

The second type of sensory bin that I enjoy using includes a single filler and vocabulary cards. The point of this sensory bin is to expose students to summer vocabulary. This is an easy way to make vocabulary activities more exciting! You can use sand as a filler for this sensory bin as well. You can find my CVI-friendly summer vocab here.

Light Table Activity

Continuing with the beach theme, this CVI-friendly ESY activity involves exploring colorful shells on the light table. To do this, I like to use these translucent Dive Gem Pool toys from Amazon. Students can practice fine motor skills while picking up the pieces. Students can also practice putting them in a bucket or sorting them by color. In addition, the shells can be used for math activities and so much more!

The image has text at the top which says "Light Table Activity." Below the text, there are multi-color translucent shells photographed on a light table.

ESY Activities #4: Craft

For a simple, CVI-friendly craft, I love having students create a sandcastle from sandpaper.  To do this, follow the steps below.

  1. Download and print out the sandcastle template here.
  2. Trace the template onto the sandpaper for students or an adult to cut out. The flag will be traced on construction paper or paper of the student’s choice.
  3. Provide the sandpaper pieces and a piece of black cardstock to the student.
  4. Students will build the sandcastle against black cardstock, for contrast. I added yellow washi tape to the sides of the door for contrast as well.
  5. Use a pipe cleaner, popsicle stick, washi tape, etc, as the flag pole and attach the flag.

The text "Sandcastle Craft" is written at the top. Below is an image of a sandcastle created from sand paper. Next to the completed craft is a sheet of sand paper and yellow washi tape.

Interested in other activities for students with cortical visual impairment? Check out these blog posts!

My Favorite Textured Materials for CVI

4 Engaging CVI-friendly Rainbow Activities 

4 Engaging CVI-friendly Spring Activities 

Are you looking to start using CVI-friendly activities in your classroom? You can try a FREE CVI Centers Sampler here. 

3 pictures are shown in this pin: sensory bin with purple sand and shells, a shell light table activity, and adapted books titled: "The Shells at the Beach."


I wrote this blog post as part of a blogging challenge. The challenge was so much fun, and I learned a great deal! If you want to check out some of the awesome tips I learned about blogging, click here!!

And as part of this blogging challenge, I am sharing a few awesome blog posts from fellow educators!

What Is A Individual Education Plan And How To Write One

5 Simple And Effective Strategies for Teaching CVC Words

5 Tips for the Best Vacation with your Child with Autism

Genius School Supply List for Kindergarten & Beyond

Teacher Resource Kit for Special Education Students


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