7 Activities That Can Start Improving Your Child’s Hand-Eye Coordination Today
Hand-eye coordination is one of those developmental milestones you’ve likely heard mentioned in parent-teacher meetings, but you may not know what it really means. Today we’re going to do a deep dive into the topic, explain what is, why it is so important, and share 7 activities that you can engage in with your child to start improving his or her hand-eye coordination today.
What is hand-eye coordination?
Hand-eye coordination involves using the eyes to help coordinate the movement of the hand to accomplish a task. Examples include brushing one’s hair or teeth or pouring a cup of coffee.
Why is hand-eye coordination important for children to learn?
Hand-eye coordination is one of the most critical aspects of learning and development. It allows children to track the movement of their hands with their eyes, an important skill when it comes time to learn to read. It’s also essential to learning to write and can affect balance and coordination. We use hand-eye coordination multiple times a day when we:
Insert a debit card into an ATM or payment terminal
Play a video game
Get ourselves dressed and fed
When do children begin to develop hand-eye coordination?
It may surprise you to learn that infants as young as 4 – 12 weeks of age begin developing hand-eye coordination. As soon as they begin intentionally placing their hands in their mouths or start to reach for toys that interest them, they have started working on their hand-eye coordination.
Activities That Encourage Hand-Eye Coordination
As your baby grows, he or she will enjoy a variety of activities that naturally promote hand-eye coordination. Experts agree that spending as little as 5 minutes a day engaging in coordinated activities can help improve a child’s hand-eye coordination.
An Old-Fashioned Game of Catch
There’s nothing easier, or better for building hand-eye coordination, than engaging your child in a game of catch. Younger children may enjoy sitting on the floor and rolling the ball back and forth with you. Older children love tossing a ball in the backyard. As their skill improves, you can practice increasing the distance between the participants.
Drawing and Coloring
This activity is convenient in that it does not require parent participation. Offer your child a new coloring book and let them take the lead. Keeping the crayon within the lines of the drawing is wonderful hand-eye coordination practice.
And you don’t have to limit this activity to coloring books. Using chalk on a chalkboard is another fun way to improve coordination while offering some variety.
Lacing cards offer a more challenging way to practice hand-eye coordination. They also require a high level of concentration. Many children enjoy working with lacing cards while mom or dad read them a familiar bedtime story—it gives their hands something to do while their mind is listening.
We love this lacing card set from Melissa & Doug, but it is also easy to make your own with nothing more than a piece of cardboard, a hole punch, and a shoelace.
Children love the competitive nature of a good, old-fashioned egg race. This is fun to do with a large group or just with you and your child.
Set the starting and ending location of your race then give your child an egg and a spoon. Have your child place their egg in the spoon. Upon “go”, your child must try to make their way to the finish line while carrying their egg in the spoon. No helping from the other hand is allowed—tell them to keep it behind their back. The first person to cross the finish line without losing their egg is the winner.
Bean Bag Toss
Much like throwing a ball, tossing a bean bag is wonderful for developing hand-eye coordination. Begin by having your child try to throw their bag at a large target like a hula hoop laying on the ground. Once they’ve mastered that, begin reducing the size of the hoop to make the game more challenging. You can eventually use a bean bag board with a small hole.
Younger children may have to begin throwing the bean bag with two hands but, as they develop greater coordination, they can start practicing throwing one handed.
Get Out and Garden
Gardening combines some of our favorite things—being outdoors, learning about nature, and improving hand-eye coordination. Activities like pulling weeds, watering seedlings, and planting seeds all help develop important coordination skills.
Building with Blocks
Another oldie but goodie, building with blocks is a fun, engaging activity that builds hand-eye coordination.
Encourage children to build towers, carefully placing one block on top of another. Offer them a friendly challenge—let’s see if you can stack three blocks on top of one another. Once they have a tower built, ask them if they’re ready to knock their tower down, then give them a ball and have them try to roll it into their tower. This is a great way to combine two hand-eye coordination activities into one fun game!
Thanks for reading,
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