Activities to help your child develop their hand-eye coordination
Hand-eye coordination is the ability of the visual system to process information in order to coordinate and control the movement of our hands to accomplish tasks. It works in conjunction with our fine-motor skills (utilising small muscles for things like doing up a button) and also our gross-motor skills (using the large muscles for tasks like hitting or catching a ball).
Without well-developed hand-eye coordination, we would not be able to carry out everyday tasks such as writing, pouring a drink or putting our socks on.
There are a number of fun games and activities that children can do in order to practice and develop their hand-eye coordination.
Simple games for developing hand-eye coordination:
- Roll and catch. For 2+ players. Players sit on the floor with their legs open wide and push a ball to each other. The object is to try to catch the ball and stop it before it hits your body. The first person to successfully get five ‘goals’ (where the ball isn’t stopped before hitting the player’s body) is the winner. For only one player, sit close to a wall so that the ball can rebound off the wall and come back for you to catch.
- The swinging ball. For 1 player or more. Totem tennis (hitting a ball on a pole attached to a string) is excellent for developing hand-eye coordination. As an alternative, put a tennis ball inside an old stocking and suspend it from a doorframe. Have your child push the ball away from his body and catch it as it swings back. To work on eye tracking and to strengthen the muscles in your eye, have him lie on his back and follow the movements of the suspended ball with his eyes.
- Homemade jigsaw. For 1 player or more. Gather small items from around the house and trace around them on a piece of paper. Have kids match the items with the outlines and put them in the correct place.
- Mini clothesline. For 1 player or more. Using a piece of string suspended between two objects to form a small clothesline, provide kids with little squares of fabric and pegs to hang them up.
For children who have more advanced fine-motor skills (around preschool age and up), sewing is a terrific activity for further developing hand-eye coordination and fine-motor skills.
Here’s how to make some simple, gorgeous, hand-stitched greeting cards.
Kid-sewn greeting cards
- cardboard/blank greeting cards
- needle (we used a large plastic embroidery needle. Great for beginners)
- pencil/pen (pencil would be good to rub out the design once it is stitched)
- sticky tape
- ruler (optional)
- stickers/markers (for further decorating your greeting cards if desired)
- Draw or trace a basic shape on your card
- Using the needle, poke a hole through the centre of the shape (we used a ruler to centre it correctly)
- Poke holes around the outline of the shape ensure there is a decent amount of space between each hole. (If your holes are too close together, the cardboard will most likely rip and spoil your design.)
- Thread the needle with the wool (tie or stick up the end for inexperienced sewers so that they don’t lose it).
- Start the design by pushing the needle up through the centre hole and threading the wool through. Use a piece of tape to secure the end length of the wool to the underside of the card.
- From the centre hole, stitch to an outside hole of the card and then back up through the middle. Continue stitching out to each hole around the outline, coming back up through the middle each time.
- As you will need a long length of wool to stitch the entire card, you will need to be careful when pulling the wool through so that it doesn’t get knotted or bunch up.
- After stitching the entire way around, use a basic stitch to sew around the outside line of your shape. You will need to go around twice in order to fill in all the gaps and have wool covering the whole traced design.
- When your card design is stitched, you can finish off with stickers or markers if you like. Your card is then ready to be written in and given to the lucky recipient.
Find More Craft Activities
- Making a scarecrow
- Horse lovers dream
- Pasta pictures
- Edible necklaces and bracelets
- Make a pet rock
- Make finger puppets from rubber gloves
- Make crayon pictures
- Make a French knitting machine
- Light bulb alien head
- Craft a pelican windsock
Find More Kids' Craft Ideas and Activities:
This article was written by Deborah Alter-Rasche for Kidspot.com.au and has been adapted for Kidspot.co.nz