Keep Eyes on the Prize: Hand-Eye Coordination for Kids

by Jodi Gilray-Szostak PT, DPT, C/NDT, NTMTC Jodi Gilray Pediatric Therapy

You can count on hand-eye coordination to assist in completing daily tasks, but what is it?

Hand-eye coordination means that you are using visual input to coordinate hand movements in response. This is why you are able to catch a ball coming your way without missing it or allowing it to hit you. Something as simple as picking up an object also involves hand-eye coordination.

You absolutely need this skill on a daily basis, which is why it’s so important to nurture in your kiddo.

Practice is best

Repetition helps kids learn. If you know what your child likes to do and is interested in, you can use that knowledge to help suggest hand-eye coordination activities.

Get active

Use sports balls for playtime. Your child doesn’t need to be part of a sports team to reap the benefits of playing with toy balls. You can play catch with your little one or allow them to bounce the ball around as a solo activity. If your child still isn’t a fan, replace the ball with a different item. Try bubbles, for example. Keep a tally and challenge your child to beat their score.

Use pen and paper

Writing can be a total blast while keeping your little one entertained. They may even want to come back for more writing time later. Just have fun with it! 

Puzzles, board games and blocks

Many classic toys and games offer a way for your child to work on hand-eye coordination skills. It goes to show you that you don’t need fancy or expensive toys to help your child learn and grow. What matters is that they are having fun and learning from the experiences.

Problems with hand-eye coordination in kids

Kids with poor hand-eye coordination may avoid certain activities, neglect personal hygiene, struggle academically and miss out on social opportunities such as playing sports with their friends.

You may notice other symptoms such as clumsiness, poor attention, holding objects too close to the eyes and frustration. Poor hand-eye coordination can be a symptom of conditions like cerebral palsy or developmental delays. Occupational therapy is a recommended go-to for kids with hand-eye coordination issues.