Hand-eye coordination is the ability of the eyes to control the movement of the hands. It is the ability to perform activities that require a simultaneous use of the eyes and the hand muscles effectively.
Hand-eye coordination is a skill that is very essential in sports like baseball, tennis, and basketball,
It is an important motor skill for children because they will need it to perform many important tasks as they grow including writing and drawing, picking up items, sports, reading, arts and crafts, games and play, and many other day to day activities like tying their shoe laces, pouring drinks, or using cutlery.
Children start developing strong hand-eye coordination from when they are 5-months old. At that age, kids should be able to move toys or objects from one hand to another and be able to reach for, and grasp objects.
At age 1, your child should be able to pick up tiny objects like grains or rice from the floor and by the time they are 2 years old, they should be able to hold a pen, use a cutlery, and turn the pages of a book.
Children with poor hand-eye coordination may have trouble performing these tasks effectively.
Poor hand-eye coordination may be caused by a number of medical or non-medical factors like vision impairment and movement disorders. However, parents can help their children develop good hand-eye coordination as they grow by engaging them in the following exercises:
Ball Suspension: Ball suspension exercises are great for kids of any age and it’s a very simple exercise that can be done anywhere, even in your living room.
- Step 1: Grab a ball and put it inside a fruit net bag. Knot the net bag on both ends.
- Step 2: Tie the net to a rope that is long enough such that the ball will be at the same level with your child’s chest.
- Step 3: Tie the ball to a pole, a hook on your doorway or anywhere in your home that is safe for your child to play.
- Exercise 1: Let your child stand in front of the ball and push the ball forward with their hands and try to catch the ball when it swings forward.
- Exercise 2: Give your child a tennis bat and have them hit the ball with the bat and continue to hit it as it swings forward just like you do when playing tennis.
- Exercise 3: Have them push the ball forward with their hands, clap twice before the ball springs forward, and then push the ball again.
Object Relay: This exercise can also be done indoors or outdoors and it’s very great for children between the ages of 2 and 5. However, it’s a group-themed game so you might have to involve other kids.
- Step 1: Place a bucket full of balls or any other items on the floor.
- Step 2: Have the children stand in a straight line.
- Step 3: Place an empty bucket behind the last person on the line.
- Step 4: The child in front will have to pick the balls in the bucket and pass it to the next kid, who will also pass it until it gets to the last kid. The last kid puts the ball in the empty bucket at the back.
Set a timer so that the kids have to finish filling then bucket at the back before the time runs out.
- Step 5: Let the last kid at the back of the line switch positions with the first kid so that all the kids get an opportunity to be in the front because the exercise is more effective for the kid in the front of the line.
- Ball Rolling: This one is best suited to preschoolers and toddlers. All you have to do is to have your child sit on the floor with their legs spread apart. Then you sit in front of them too and toss the ball to them. Your child will have to roll the ball back to you before it hits their body.
- Wall Ball Toss: Older kids between the ages of 5 and 7 can build stronger hand-eye coordination with the wall ball toss which is like an advanced version of the ball suspension exercise.
This time there would be no ropes or nets- your child will have to toss the ball against the wall and ensure that the ball doesn’t hit the ground. They’ll have to keep tossing the ball against the wall at different distances, starting from the closest to the farthest that they can handle.
- Air Ball Toss: This one is really simple and beneficial for children of all ages and adults too. Just have them toss the ball in the air repeatedly and catch it before it hits the floor.
- Joggling: Joggling is more than just a form of entertainment by clowns at parties; it can also be a great exercise for improving hand-eye coordination especially for kids who are 8 or older.
Give them 3 balls to toss in the air and try to catch the balls while making sure that none of them drops to the ground. They can start with very small throw circles and gradually expand the circle as they get better at it.
Jump Rope Drills: Jumping rope can also be helpful and it helps to build foot coordination too.
You can have them start with regular jumps, and then introduce crisscrossing, running in place, and one foot multiple hops.
Threading and Lacing: You can have them string beads to a lace or onto a pipe cleaner. You can also buy toys that are designed for this activity like the bead tree or this jar of lacing beads.
It is important to monitor your kids when playing with beads so they don’t harm themselves by putting the loose beads in their mouth.
Jigsaw Puzzles: Jigsaws are also helpful for kids of all ages, In addition to developing better hand-eye coordination, the puzzles can also help to hone your child’s shape recognition skills, and memory .
Lego Games: Having your child play with their Legos or stack towers is also very helpful for building stronger hand-eye coordination.