Hand-eye represents the capacity to use hands and eyes simultaneously to do various activities. We use hand-eye coordination to perform actions in which our visual-spatial perception (eyes) guides our hands to carry out a movement. In other words, hand-eye coordination allows us to unite our visual and motor skills to perform various tasks.
Hand-eye coordination involves two essential steps:
- Self-perception: the child uses their eyes to help the brain understand where their body is located in space
- Movement: a child uses their hands to simultaneously carry out an intentional task based on the visual information their eyes receive
Why is Hand-Eye Coordination Important?
Hand-eye coordination is a crucial ability that lies at the core of many academic, sports, and life skills. It is a vital skill for school success because it allows children to use their vision and muscles to perform tasks such as writing, drawing, tying shoelaces, or catching a ball.
However, hand-eye coordination is also an essential skill that kids will use throughout their adult lives daily.
Coordination between our eyes and hands is necessary for visual-motor integration, which is the basis for writing. Also, the eye-hand coordination is essential for eye-tracking skills involved in reading.
Almost every sport requires motor (eye-hand or eye-foot) coordination to synchronize what we perceive with our eyes with our body’s movements.
While it seems that children develop this capacity naturally and effortlessly, there are some ways to help your child improve their hand-eye coordination. Here is what you can do to make learning fun.
- Play Educational Online Games Together
Online games for children can help develop eye-tracking skills and hand-eye coordination needed for reading and writing. They can also help develop visual perception and spatial recognition, persistence, and accuracy.
Moreover, playing games with your child can help develop language and social-emotional skills, boost creativity and imagination, and improve fine motor skills necessary for everyday activities such as eating, dressing, writing, etc.
An ability to coordinate a thumb and index finger to pick up small objects (a pincer grasp) is a significant early childhood milestone that allows kids to perform these daily living activities.
- Encourage Manipulative Play
Manipulative or functional play is a type of play in which children use their hands or feet to manipulate objects.
Activities such as building a tower, constructing Lego, or stacking blocks boost hand-eye coordination, preparing young children for life skills such as dressing, feeding, driving, baking, etc.
Also, toys like shape sorters, art and craft items puzzles, pegs, and pegboards help synchronize eyes with hand movements, improving their coordination.
For example, toys such as shape sorters promote the child’s visual-spatial perception, helping them develop hand-eye coordination, understand cause and effect, and grasp object permanence.
- Provide Opportunities for Gross Motor Play
Games such as catching and throwing a ball, skipping rope, working in the garden, or an egg race are excellent activities to promote balance and improve eye-hand coordination.
Outdoor play boosts gross motor skills (movements related to large muscles of arms or legs and the whole body) that enable the child to walk, sit, run, jump, climb, crawl, etc. Coordination between visual perception and the body’s movements is critical for developing other motor skills such as throwing or catching.
To promote hand-eye coordination and various other skills, encourage manipulative and outdoor play, and have fun playing educational games with your little one.
Here are some educational apps for kids to play: