(Developed and graciously shared by Dr. Kellye Knueppel at The Vision Therapy Center, Wisconsin. Stamps of approval by Dr. Sherry and Dr. Laura at Katmai Eye and Vision Center)

It’s that time of year! To help Santa pick out toys that will enhance a child’s vision development, we are excited to present an Optometry approved toy list.

You will notice screens and Red Rider BB Guns are not included on the list because too much screen time is clinically linked with worsening functional vision, and “you can shoot your eye out”.

Building Toys

Develop eye-hand coordination and visualization/imagination
  1. Kreo Sets
  2. Mega Bloks
  3. K’NEX
  4. Building Blocks
  5. Legos/Duplos
  6. Lincoln Logs
  7. Tinker Toys
  8. Erector Set
  9. Magformers
  10. VEX Robotics


Photo courtesy of Magformers. The “intelligent magnetic construction set for brain development,” Magformers include a variety of different magnetic construction sets.


Photo courtesy of VEX Robotics. VEX Robotics is a highly versatile construction system that allows students to build whatever they can imagine. It allows students a platform to immerse themselves in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math through the fun of building robots.

Fine Motor Skill Toys

Develop visual-motor integration and fine motor skills
  1. Origami Sets
  2. Rainbow Loom
  3.  Lite-Brite
  4. Pegboard and Pegs
  5. Coloring Books and Crayons
  6. Dot-to-Dot Activity Books
  7. Finger Paints
  8. Playdough/Silly Putty/Modeling Clay
  9. Chalkboard (24” x 36”)/Easel
  10. Bead Stringing
  11. Sewing Cards (Craft)
  12. Paint or Color By Numbers
  13. Sand Art
  14. Stencils
  15. Bead Craft Kits
  16. Models (car, airplane, ships, etc.)
  17. Jacks


Photo courtesty of Cornhole-store.com. A classic! You can’t go wrong with a set of cornhole bean bags. We found these at the Cornhole-store.com. (Naturally you’ll need a bean bag toss board to go with it!)

Space Perception Toys

Develop depth perception and eye-hand coordination

Within arm’s length:

  1. Egg and Spoon Race
  2. Jumpin’ Monkeys
  3. Flippin’ Frogs
  4. Ants in the Pants
  5. Fishin’ Around
  6. Operation
  7. Pick-up Sticks
  8. KerPlunk
  9. Jenga
  10. Don’t Break the Ice
  11. Marbles
  12. Cornhole Bean Bags

Beyond arm’s length:

  1. Bowling Zombies
  2. Oball (good for kids who have difficulty catching balls)
  3. Ball (any kind!)
  4. Pitchback
  5. Toss Across (tic-tac-toe)
  6. Ring Toss
  7. Nerf Basketball
  8. Dart Games (velcro)
  9. Ping Pong
  10. Cuponk
  11. Elefun
  12. Badminton
  13. Frisbee

Visual Thinking Toys and Games

Develop visual perceptual skills including: visualization, visual memory, visual discrimination, pattern recognition and sequencing. These skills are important for academics including mathematics, reading and spelling.
  1. Color Code
  2. Math Dice, Math Dice Jr.
  3. Rory’s Story Cubes
  4. Amaze
  5. Color Blocks and 1” Cubes
  6. Bejeweled Board Game
  7. Tetris Bop It
  8. Parquetry Blocks
  9. Attribute Blocks
  10. Make N Break Game
  11. Jigsaw Puzzles
  12. Card Games (Old Maid, Go Fish, etc.)
  13. Dominoes
  14. ThinkFun Bug Trails
  15. Checkers
  16. Chinese Checkers
  17. Perplexus
  18. Qwirkle
  19. Battleship
  20. Labyrinth
  21. Blokus
  22. Connect Four
  23. Rush Hour/Rush Hour Jr.
  24. Regatta
  25. Perfection
  1. Tactilo
  2. Bingo
  3. Memory Games
  4. Chicken Cha-Cha-Cha
  5. Simon Flash
  6. Bop It
  7. Hyperdash
  8. Blink
  9. Set
  10. Loopz
  11. Racko
  12. Sort it Out
  13. Tangrams/Tangoes
  14. Mancala
  15. Q-bitz
  16. Rubik’s Cube
  17. Uno
  18. Spot It!
  19. Gears!Gears!Gears!
  20. Kanoodle


Photo courtesy of Mattelgames.com.
UNO is a number and color matching game of cards that’s fun and easy for kids of all ages. UNO can be played with 2 to 10 players and it is appropriate for ages 7 and over. The player who plays first must match a card in their hand to the card on the discard pile. Play continues until one player uses all of their cards. A classic!


Photo courtesy of www.vat19.com.
Kanoodle is a solitaire puzzle game that features 2D and 3D puzzle boards. You use Tetris-like pieces to fill in the board. Includes multiple levels of difficulty.


Photo courtesy of Mindware.com.
Spot It! is also a number and color matching game of cards that’s fun and easy for kids of all ages. The concept is simple: each of the 55 cards in the deck feature eight symbols, and there is always exactly one matching symbol between any two cards in the deck. Your goal is to be the quickest to find the match between two cards.


Photo and description courtesy of Learning Resources.
Taking apart and rebuilding things encourages a real understanding of how things work. OurGears! Gears! Gears!® building sets feature optional building ideas while also fostering creative, open-ended play.

Balance and Coordination Toys and Games

Develop gross motor skills, laterality and bilateral coordination
  1. Hoppity Hop
  2. Jump Ropes
  3. Sit and Spin
  4. Slip ’n Slide
  5. Stilts
  6. Twister
  7. Heads Up

Happy Holidays from Katmai Eye and Vision Center!