The "hot" new toy this season may be the latest high-tech video game or a simple set of blocks, but parents can choose toys that will not only entertain their children but also stimulate their vision development, says the American Optometric Association.

The association said certain kinds of toys can help children develop or sharpen the following skills:- Eye-hand-body coordination skills, necessary for writing and sports.

- Shape and size discrimination skills, needed for reading.

- Visualization and memory skills, needed for comprehension.

For babies, large, bright rattles, squeaky toys, stuffed animals, sturdy cardboard books, take-apart toys, blocks, stacking-nesting toys, zipper toys and bright-colored balls can be stimulating and fascinating.

For active toddlers, the association suggested peg-hammering toys, simple sorting shape/size toys, crayons and puzzles.

Preschoolers' vision development can be enhanced through snap-together toys, stringing beads, pegboards, puzzles and sewing cards.

Suggestions for older children include bicycles, simple computer programs, building toys, remote-controlled toys, jump ropes, pogo sticks, safe dart and and other target games and batting trainer devices.

Home video games also can help children - as well as adults - improve such vision skills as hand-eye coordination, the association said.

However, when playing a video game, both children and adults should take a five-minute rest break every 30 minutes of play to relax and re-focus their eyes at a distance.