Hand-eye coordination refers to the ability to accurately process visual information from the eyes and use to direct the movements of the hands to accomplish to accomplish an activity. This skill is essential when playing ball sports such as basketball, tennis, or baseball, but it is also required in basic, day-to-day activities. For example, activities such as buttoning clothing, tying shoelaces, writing, and drawing all make use of this skill.
Hand-Eye Coordination Milestones
From simple tasks like reaching for a toy to more complex tasks like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle, you child’ s hand-eye coordination will progress from reflexive and clumsy to efficient and purposeful as they grow.
At 5 months, your baby should be able to reach out for and hold objects in their hands. They should also be able to move objects from one hand to the other.
By the time they are 1 year old, they should be skilled enough to pick up small items in a pincer grip such as a noodle strand.
At 2 years old, your toddler should be able to stack at least 5 toy blocks on top of each other, hold a writing instrument, and feed themselves with a spoon.
At 3 years old, they should be able to turn pages in books and draw circles.
By the time they reach preschool-age, they should be well-versed in hand-eye coordination. At this age, they would have developed good spatial awareness, allowing them to execute hand-eye coordination with more precision. This means they would have mastered most of the basic hand-eye coordination tasks. They should be able to write letters of the alphabet, color within the lines, feed themselves without making a mess, dress themselves by doing up their own buttons, zippers, and shoelaces, and manipulate objects easily. Eventually, they will even become skilled enough to play a sports.
Encouraging hand-eye coordination
There are countless activities to encourage hand-eye coordination in your child. Just like with any other skill, they will get better with frequent practice. If you are looking for inspiration, here are some easy, effective, and age-appropriate activities you can try with your child.
For babies, you can try:
- Putting toys that they like within reach to encourage them to grab the toy
- Giving them toys that make sounds with the press of a button
- Giving them a rattle to shake
- Building a tower out of toy blocks for them to knock down
For toddlers, you can try:
- Finger painting
- Playing with playdough
- Stringing beads
- Playing with a bowling toy set
- Throwing and catching a ball
- Connect-the-dot drawing books
- The “Simons Says” game
For children above 5 years old, you can try:
- Ball games, such as basketball, handball, and tennis
- Relay racing
- Overhand and underhand throwing
- Balancing on a beam
- Jig Saw Puzzles
Now that you have a better understanding of how to encourage the development of hand-eye coordination in your child, it is time to implement it. Have fun!