From the moment of birth, a child is learning to see. He or she progresses from the newborn’s blurry world of light and dark to the school-age child’s sophisticated ability to handle complex vision tasks. Toys, games and playtime activities help by stimulating this process of vision development.
• Inexpensive homemade toys and simple childhood games are just as effective as purchased toys in helping children develop and improve their vision skills.
• When buying toys, select those that are well-made, safe, and appropriate to the child’s age and level of maturity. Manufacturers often give suggested ages for a toy, but, keep the individual child in mind because children develop at different rates. Here is a list of toys and activities that can help children develop or improve various vision skills.
Those suggested for birth through 5 months of age will help stimulate your baby’s sense of sight.
Those suggested for older age groups will help develop or sharpen your child’s general eye movement skills; eye-hand coordination skills necessary for writing and sports; shape and size discrimination skills needed for reading; and visualization and visual memory skills needed for comprehension and for the ability to visualize abstract things.
Birth – 5 Months
• Toys: Sturdy crib mobiles and gyms; bright large rattles and rubber squeak toys• Activities: Peek-a-boo, patty-cake6 – 8 Months• Toys: Stuffed animals; floating bath toys• Activities: Hide-and-Seek with toys, read to child 9 – 12 Months• Toys: Sturdy cardboard books, take-apart toys, snap-lock beads, blocks; stacking/nesting toys
• Activities: Roll a ball back-and-forth, read to child
1 Year Olds
• Toys: Bright balls; blocks, zippers, rocking horse, riding toys pushed with the feet
• Activities: Throwing a ball, read to child.
2 Year Olds
• Toys: Pencils, markers, crayons, bean bag/ring toss games, peg hammering toys, sorting shapes/sizes toys, puzzles, blocks.
• Activities: Read to child, outdoor play, catch
3 – 6 Years
• Toys: Building toys with large snap-together components, stringing beads; puzzles, pegboards, crayons, finger paint, chalk, modeling clay, simple sewing cards, large balls, match-up-shape toys, tricycle, connect-the-dot games
• Activities: Climbing, running; using balance beam, playground equipment
7 Years and Older
• Toys: Bicycle, jump ropes; pogo sticks, skates, different size and shape balls, target games, building toys, puzzles, remote-controlled toys; timed shape/size sorting games
• Activities: Active sports, cycling