Hand-eye coordination, in conjunction with fine motor skills, is a skill that helps children learn as well as improve efficiency in daily life activities. It is a skill where your child’s hand movements are tracked with their eyes. A well-developed hand-eye coordination may also improve a child’s reaction time and help a child cope with demands in the society. It has also been found that developing hand-eye coordination has a positive effect on learning and building social skills.
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are typically found with less efficient hand-eye coordination, which may make everyday activities like getting dressed or catching a ball more difficult. But fret not, as there are several activities you can play with your child to work on this!
Let’s Get Moving!
These activities incorporate physical movements which can help build children’s overall motor skills as well. They can also be part of a fun family bonding time!
Games involving balls are versatile and can be a great way to develop a child’s hand-eye coordination. Having to throw, catch or bounce the ball requires a great deal of controlling their hand movements while attending to both the ball as well as the target. Here are some examples:
1. Throw and Catch
Simply taking turns to pass the ball with your child with the aim of not dropping the ball is a good activity to practice turn-taking and building your child’s hand-eye coordination! Remember to praise your child whenever a good toss or catch was made. You could also switch between throwing and bouncing the ball.
All you need is a few plastic bottles (you may choose to fill them with water to add some weight) and a ball! Set it up in a bowling formation and have your child roll the ball to hit as many ‘pins’ as possible in the least number of tries. If your child faces some difficulty rolling the ball, try demonstrating it and physically guiding your child’s arms and hands during your child’s turn.
3. Bounce Back
Another game to try is to get your child to bounce the ball against the wall and catch it as it bounces back. This may be slightly more difficult than throwing and catching with another person, so this could possibly be done after successful bounces between your child and yourself.
4. Bean Bags Throw
Other than balls, you may also make use of any weighted and soft items such as bean bags just to let your child be exposed to holding different objects. An example of a game that can be played using bean bags would be to throw coloured bean bags into containers that are labelled with the corresponding colours to earn points. You may choose to vary the distance and adjust the points system accordingly.
Common stationeries and household items can be of great use when practicing hand-eye coordination. These could include items such as pegs (wooden or clothes), tweezers, scissors, marbles, ping pong balls and a spoon. The list is non-exhaustive so feel free to use your creativity - anything that involves your child’s hands and eyes!
1. Pegs and String
Have your child clip on as many pegs as possible on a string tied to 2 chairs or the legs of the table. For additional learning, you could even add alphabets, numbers, or even pictures to the pegs and get your child to arrange or categorise accordingly.
2. Art and Craft
Simple drawing, colouring and cutting is a sufficient and fun activity to enjoy together! Remember to always guide your child especially when using sharp stationeries like scissors.
3. Carnival Games
An example of an easy home-made carnival game would be a race balancing a ping pong ball with a spoon. This game requires a great deal of balancing and coordination when ensuring that the ping pong ball stays on the spoon throughout.
Hand-eye coordination is a skill that can be built upon, it can be developed through practice. 10 minutes everyday is good enough to see improvements. Regardless of the level of difficulty for the games, always remember to praise and encourage your child! Lastly, don’t forget to have fun in the process.
Written by Tiffany.
Sussex Publishers. (n.d.). Hand-Eye coordination improves cognitive and social skills. Psychology Today. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/sg/blog/the-athletes-way/201311/hand-eye-coordination-improves-cognitive-and-social-skills.
Crippa, A., Forti, S., Perego, P., & Molteni, M. (2012). Eye-Hand coordination in children with high functioning autism and Asperger’s disorder using A GAP-OVERLAP PARADIGM. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43(4), 841–850. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-012-1623-8