Occupational therapist Kelly Westerman gives us an overview of eye hand coordination and the activities that you can do at home with your child to improve these skills.
What is hand eye coordination and how can you improve your child’s coordination?
Eye hand coordination is the ability to track the movements of the hands with the eyes, thus enabling the eyes to send important signals to the brain about hand movement. Poor hand eye coordination can greatly affect your ability to exercise and can also affect everyday tasks such as writing.
Eye hand coordination is important for many things:
- Sports – eye hand coordination can help your child catch and hit a ball.
- Handwriting – eye hand coordination is a vital skill for handwriting. The eyes need to guide the hand in forming the letters and making sure they stay within the lines.
- Reading – eye tracking skills, which are vital for reading, this can be developed through games and activities for eye hand coordination
Here are a few activities you can do with your little one to help improve their eye hand coordination:
- Suspend a ball in a net:
- Use a bag from oranges,
- Put a ball in the bag and tie a knot,
- Tie a piece of rope to the bag (the rope needs to be long enough to get the ball to chest level of your child),
- Suspend the ball from any horizontal pole or tree branch
- Your child then pushes the ball with both hands and then needs to watch the ball carefully to catch it again with both hands together, and not to let it hit against their body.
- They can also use a bat and they can practice hitting the ball with the bat. Use a variety of bats to increase the challenge for your child.
- Threading and Lacing
Threading beads is a fine motor activity that has a big eye hand coordination component. Use different size beads to give them a bit of a challenge.
- Homemade puzzles
- Get all different shape and size objects from around the house and trace around them on a piece of paper.
- Have your child match the items with the outlines and put them in the correct place.
- Mini clothesline
- Using a piece of string suspended between two objects to form a small clothesline.
- Give your child small squares of fabric and pegs to hang them up.
The movement and coordination of large muscle groups involves gross motor skills. Gross motor skills frequently require the hands to coordinate with the eyes. These skills include hitting a ball. People with strong hand eye coordination tend to have good reflexes and fast reaction times. Poor hand eye coordination can increase reaction times and make it difficult for people to perfectly align their movements.
Eye hand coordination also affects fine motor skills. Fine motor skills are the small movements of a muscle, usually in the hands and wrists. Fine motor skills are also necessary for everyday activities such as writing. People with weak eye hand coordination that affects fine motor skills may have trouble gripping things and aiming. Because fine motor skills are associated with reading and writing, people with poor eye hand coordination may struggle with these tasks, causing them to be diagnosed with a learning disability.
Contributed by Kelly Westerman, Occupational Therapist and Clamber Club Toddlers Milnerton Owner
Tel: 076 100 4737