With the holiday season upon us, many parents ask, “What toys can I give my child that will enhance their visual and cognitive development? Can I disguise some vision therapy by wrapping it up and give it to my child as a gift?”

We’ve previously highlighted some toys and activities that promote vision and learning, but here’s a new thought: what about giving your child something that’s not a toy?

adorable caucasian celebration child

What if you gave them an experience that promotes their visual and cognitive development while making everlasting memories? Yes, your children want and probably expect new toys, but whether they are able to express it or not, they also want to spend time with you.

Living in the suburbs of NYC, I am, admittedly, spoiled. The experiences in which I am able to indulge, either by myself, with my (now grown-up) children, or friends and family are just about infinite. On the agenda for the next two weeks:  Paint Night with my SUNY VT family, a trip to the Intrepid Air and Space Museum with my husband, a solo visit to the Train Show at the New York Botanical Gardens, a Broadway show with my son, and a photo safari to Central Park with my brother.

four persons playing on snow

The photo safari with my brother grew out of one of my favorite memories of an experience my father shared with me when I was about 10 years old. He bought me a camera and spent the day with me wandering around our neighborhood teaching me how to use it. The only reason I am able to take my camera OFF of automatic is because of that lesson! He did the same for my brother and now we pick a place and spend a few hours together taking photos.

photo of a girl playing with the camera

When planning our trip to the Intrepid, I was able to “borrow” passes to the museum from my local library.  They offer admission passes at no cost to 15 museums! Maybe your local library has a similar program.

The only “gift” on my list of upcoming experiences with a hefty price tag is the Broadway show. As much as I am looking forward to seeing the show, I am even happier thinking about the time I will be spending with my son, who has been living and working in Africa for the past 6 months!  It is the time spent with the people I love and the memories that will last forever that make the holidays special.  I hope the show is provocative or unique in some way, so we can get a boost to our cognitive development as well.

How will you make memories and offer experiences to your children this holiday season?


Your kids will probably still want toys, too… Luckily Dr. Sorenson has found plenty of options that will help them build visual skills while having fun!