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 Educational Shape Activities for Students with CVI

February 21, 2022 No Comments

 Educational Shape Activities for Students with CVI

The text "CVI-friendly Shape Activities" is written at the top. Below are three images: an iPad showing a shape BOOM card activity on it, a light table with four gel filled shapes on it, and a tactile shape book showing a pink holographic square.

Shapes are an important focus for preschool and elementary-aged students. Shapes are a huge component of our everyday environment and knowing shapes can help students navigate that world. More specifically, knowing shapes can help students categorize certain objects. In addition, shapes can help a student with CVI work on matching and identifying skills. In this blog post, I am going to share 4 shape activities for students with CVI. Because of the multi-sensory approach, these activities can benefit other students as well.

When teaching shapes, I usually begin with a circle, triangle, or square. I like these shapes because they have very different features and are shapes that are commonly seen in books, community signs, etc.  I personally like to start with two. Focusing on two shapes, allow students to work on matching and identification through comparison. Students can learn about the type of lines that make up the shape (straight or curved), as well as the number of lines that make it up. If only one shape is focused on, students may have a challenging time identifying it once the second shape is introduced. 


Tactile Books

The text "tactile book" appears at the top. Below are two images of sample pages from the tactile book. The page on the left shows a blue glitter circle. The page on the right shows a pink holographic square.

I really like making textured shape books to introduce students to shapes. To make this book, select various textures, colors, etc to use in the book. Using a variety of textures and colors helps to guarantee that the student won’t always think that the circle is always blue, for example. In addition, by selecting various textures that the student likes, each of the pages will hold the student’s attention as they explore the book. 

Once the book is created, the book can be used for:

  • exploring
  • tracing (using their finger to trace the edges of the shape)
  • matching (making two copies of each textured shape)

If you notice a student still struggling to discriminate between two shapes, it might be beneficial to further outline the shape (or part of the shape) to draw the student’s attention to what makes certain shapes different. 

Looking for textures to use for these shape books? Check out this blog post: My Favorite Textured Materials for CVI


Light Table Shape Activities  

The text "light table activity" is shown at the top of the image. Below are four gel shapes on a light table. The shapes include a yellow circle, red rectangle, blue square, and a green triangle.

The light table is a great place to explore shapes! There are so many awesome translucent shapes available to purchase, but these are two of my favorites (affiliate links included). 

With these shapes, students can work on learning the features of the shapes. Students can also work on matching the shape blocks that are the same shape. 


Shape Puzzles

The text "puzzles" is shown at the top of the image. Below is a picture of six different shape puzzles. Each shape has 5 different pieces that nest inside the large piece. There are puzzles for the following shapes: flower, square, star, circle, triangle, and hexagon.

Another shape activities for students with CVI is shape puzzles. These puzzles are a great way to work on shape discrimination, as well as expose to different shapes. To work on this, I love to use one of these puzzles (depending on your students’ levels) (affiliate links included): 

If your student hasn’t been exposed to puzzles previously, I recommend beginning with the second or third option listed above. These puzzles provide the student more exposure to the single shape or shapes that you have decided to introduce. More specifically for the third option, the wooden holder of the puzzle and each subsequent piece acts as a prompt for inserting the next size shape.

*As an adaptation, the bases of these puzzles can be spray painted black in order to add high contrast. Furthermore, a texture can be placed “inside” the outline for each shape as an additional visual prompt. 


Shape BOOM Cards

The text "BOOM cards" is shown at the top of the image. Below is a sample slide from the BOOM card activity. The slide says "A present is a rectangle. Touch the present" with a picture of a red present.

The last activity I like to use when teaching shapes are BOOM cards. One of my favorite reasons for using BOOM cards is that they are typically completed on a device that is backlit. This makes the activity more visually friendly and engaging for many students with CVI. 

In addition, these Shape Interactive Book BOOM cards focus on:

  • learning the number of sides that shape has
  • seeing how the shape is drawn
  • tracing the shape
  • identifying the shape
  • identifying real-life examples of the shape 

These digital interactive books focus on one shape at a time, but students must identify the shape from a field of 2 at the end of the book.

I hope that you find one or more of these shape activities to be beneficial for your child or student with cortical visual impairment. If you are using additional activities to teach shapes in your classroom and home, be sure to use high-contrast and simple materials whenever possible. 




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