From the moment of birth, your 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.
Here is a list of toys and activities that can help your child develop or improve various vision skills.
Birth through 5 months:
Toys: Sturdy crib mobiles and gyms; bright large rattles and rubber squeak toys.
Activities: Peek-a-boo; patty cake.
6 months through 8 months:
Toys: Stuffed animals; floating bath toys.
Activities: Hide and seek with toys.
9 months through 12 months:
Toys: Sturdy cardboard books; take-apart toys; snap-lock beads; blocks; stacking/nesting toys.
Activities: Roll a ball back and forth.
Toys: Bright balls; blocks; zippers; rocking horse; riding toys pushed with the feet.
Activities: Throwing a ball.
Toys: Pencils, markers, crayons; bean bag/ring toss games; peg hammering toys, sorting games; puzzles; blocks.
Activities: Read to child; outdoor play; catch.
3 to 6 years:
Toys: Building toys with large snap-together pieces; stringing beads; puzzles; pegboard crayons; finger paints; chalk; large balls; modeling clay; simple sewing cards; tricycle; follow-the-dot games; sticker books and games.
Activities: Climbing, running; using a balance beam.
7 years and older:
Toys: Bicycle; jump ropes, pogo sticks; roller skates; different size and shape balls; target games; remote controlled toys; complex puzzles;
Activities: Active sports; cycling.
When buying toys, remember to select those that are well-made and age appropriate. Provide proper eye safety equipment for older children and be certain that they wear protective eye ware when participating in eye hazardous sports and when using chemistry sets, shop tools, BB guns or other items. Inexpensive homemade toys can be just as effective in helping children develop and improve their vision skills as expensive store bought ones.