Toys & Games

Toys are a great way of stimulating your child’s vision development.  You will find some of these products for sale on the ACBO Online Shop at www.acbo.org.au or at good toy retailers.  You may also find some of these items at your local toy library.

It is recommended that vision development not be left to chance.  Ideally, all children should be examined at the age of:

  • 6 months    
  • Two and a half years
  • Before commencing school    
  • Yearly thereafter

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0 – 3 MONTHS

General motor & bilateral development

  • Playfully move your baby’s arms & legs, at first each limb separately and then in various combinations.  Raise and lower your baby while you look into each other’s eyes
  • Bounce your baby gently on the bed or on your knee.  Massage your baby’s body with lotion or powder.

Visual Focusing

  • Place a picture of a face 20 – 40cm from the baby’s eyes.  The face should be about 18cm in diameter and the eyes in the face should be about 2cm in diameter.  Place the face on one side of the bassinet and change sides regularly until the age of about 2 months.  Then hang it from the middle of the bassinet.  Make sure you place the face so that the baby has the opportunity of looking towards each side of their body
  • Provide multi-coloured objects for your baby to look at.  Occasionally change the position of your baby or the bassinet

Visual Tracking

  • Take a large patterned object (eg. a doll or balloon) with a bell attached, and move it in front of your baby’s face, 20 – 30cm from the eyes.  Move the object slowly from side to side

Visual-Auditory Coordination

  • Place noisy rattles with different textures in your baby’s hands so that they can be shaken and placed in the mouth.  Remember to talk and sing to your baby

Eye-Hand Coordination

  • Make a bridge between the two sides of the bassinet and hang objects that will invite swatting

4 – 8 MONTHS

General Motor & Bilateral Movement

  • Place a kickable mobile at the end of the bassinet  

Visual Focusing

  • Place a plastic mirror in a place where your baby will catch a view of themselves  
  • Roll a patterned ball towards your baby while sitting on the floor
  • Play "peek-a-boo" with your baby

Visual Tracking

  • Walk in front of your baby, pulling a suitable pull-toy, eg. a dog on a string
  • Jingle a set of toy keys approximately 30cm in front of your baby’s eyes to stimulate eye-following abilities.  Do this from left to right and back, then up and down and so forth
  • Tie objects onto the side of the highchair so your baby will throw them to the floor and you can retrieve them more easily.  Make sure they make different sounds as they reach the end of the string

Two-Eye Teaming

  • At bathtime, provide toys that can float towards and away from baby
  • Play a “choo-choo” game with food as it is spooned into the “tunnel” (mouth).  Have baby watch the “train” all the way to the tunnel  
  • Provide wind-up toys that walk towards and away from your baby while they are watching

9 – 18 MONTHS

Toys5 LGGeneral Motor & Bilateral Movement

  • Creep through, around, over and under a furniture obstacle course
  • Hold your baby’s hand and encourage the taking a small step.  Try to do it over a very low object
  • Play nursery games like "Pat-A-Cake" and "Ten Little Indians".  Allow your baby to climb a safe set of stairs
  • Identify objects in large baby books  
  • Sort pictures of different family members.  Ask your baby to identify which picture is of which family member

Visual Focusing

  • Provide a grab-bag of objects to identify by reaching in, guessing what it is, and then pulling it out to see if it is right

Visual Tracking

  • Play ball on the floor
  • Use balls that have unpredictable movements

Eye Hand Coordination

  • Stacking & nesting toys

Binocular Coordination – Two Eye Teaming

  • When your baby is on a swing, stay in front of the swing and maintain eye contact  
  • Have your baby use a large hammer with large pegs
  • Have your baby pour water into a container.  As this skill improves, provide containers with smaller openings
  • Ball or beanbag throwing onto an area of the floor or into a basket is lots of fun
  • Try catching a balloon

Size, Shape & Spatial Concepts

  • Have your baby group objects that belong together, like all cups, spoons, plates, cars or dolls
  • Hide an object and have your baby find it
  • Scramble a stack of Lego blocks and then have your baby pick out only one type of block.  For example, pick out all the blue ones out of the red & blue blocks that have been scattered together.  Or pick out all the blocks that look alike

18 MONTHS – 3 YEARS

General Motor & Bilateral Movement

  • Kiddy car
  • Incline boards of varying widths
  • Wheelbarrow game.  Hold the child’s legs (at the thighs or knees) and let the child walk on their hands
  • Playing jump on the trampoline

Visual Focusing & Identification

  • Puzzles with geometric shapes, animals & community figures
  • On a trip to the supermarket, let your child find goods you are looking for.  Make sure they only have a narrow field to search

Visual Tracking

  • Large wooden beads for stringing
  • Sort 3 different shapes.  Place 3 cups in a horizontal row in front of your child.  Ask your child to place the buttons into the first, marbles in the second and pegs into the third, etc
  • Living room bowling:  Roll a ball to knock down milk cartons

Visual Motor Coordination
(Eye-Hand, Eye-Foot & Eye-Body)

  • Wind-up toys               
  • Tricycle
  • Slap a floating balloon (try to keep it from touching the ground)
  • Finger paints & modelling clay

Binocular Coordination

  • Place magnet on a string and hang it from the end of a stick.  Have your child ‘fish’ for metal objects
  • Help feed Daddy.  Put food into Daddy’s mouth
  • Place coins in a coin box or piggy bank

Size, Shape & Spatial Concepts

  • String beads or buttons according to size & shape
  • Learn to help set the table

3 – 4 YEARS

From this age on, most games stimulate an intricate combination of the necessary developing motor and visual skills (visual tracking and binocularity).

The following toys and activities are recommended at this stage:

  • Hopping
  • Climbing equipment
  • Tricycle
  • Wagons & wheelbarrows
  • Blunt scissors
  • Crayons & paints
  • Blowing bubbles
  • Clay
  • Construction toys
  • Puzzles
  • Musical instruments
  • Water & sand play
  • Dressing dolls and lacing toys
  • Toys with large nuts, bolts & wrench

During this stage, it is time to help with the development of visual memory.  

  • Match photos to a past holiday or place visited
  • Hide an object and explain where it is, then have your child find it
  • Build a simple pattern with blocks and hide it.  See if your child can remember and build one like it

Continue to describe all the objects and their features that your child can see in their environment.  This will include descriptions of sizes, colour, weight, relative positions, time sequence etc.

When you read to your child, have them point to the pictures to show you what you are reading about.

4 – 5 YEARS

  • Dolls house
  • Trapeze & swinging rings
  • Roller skates
  • Cars, dump trucks, bull-dozers
  • Dolls house
  • Jump rope
  • Easel & paint
  • Cutting & pasting materials
  • Construction toys such as Tinker Toys & Lego
  • Tracing within a maze
  • Frisbee throwing
  • Trapeze & swinging rings
  • Roller skates
  • Scooters
  • Bicycle with trainer wheels
  • Dress up & role play
  • Connecting dots & colouring books

Expect your optometrist to give careful consideration to your child’s emerging visual abilities.  If they are found to be significantly different from age expectations, the optometrist will need to consider other forms of treatment.

 

 

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