As adults we tend to take eye-hand coordination for granted. Every time we drive a car or write a shopping list, withdraw money from an ATM or use a computer we are exercising the complex skill of coordinating what we see with what we cognitively direct our hands to do. It is a vital cognitive skill that we use constantly and must develop early on in life, practising and exercising our eye-hand coordination often and with variety.
At school, children are set to work with hand writing exercises, playing sports, and various other activities that seek to train their eyes and hands to work together. At home, parents want to be a helpful part of the same development process, but we also know that children should get to relax and have fun once school and homework are out of the way. The two desires do not cancel each other out. Through game play parents can encourage the direct development of eye-hand coordination while relaxing and enjoying the company of their child at play.
Below are two games parents can start playing with their child to encourage eye-hand coordination:
Gobblet – This fun, yet complex game not only works on eye-hand coordination, it exercises other basic skills like concentration, color recognition and memory as well. Suitable for children as young as six years old, but challenging enough for even adults, Gobblet is a game of strategy, requiring eyes to see the board and hands to manoeuvre pieces.
Players take turns placing their pieces on the board, attempting to set four pieces in a row, but their pieces have different sizes, some of which can be covered up by larger pieces. An interesting cross between tic-tac-toe and checkers with an added memory challenge, this game will have players young and old excited to try out new strategies while exercising their eye-hand coordination.
Chinese Checkers – This classic game requires players to negotiate diagonal relationships to move and win pieces, a simple yet effective way to hone eye-hand coordination. Chinese checkers is easy to learn, but strategically challenging enough to be played over and over again. Entertaining for young kids who will benefit from colour recognition and basic strategy skills, it is also a good game to get the whole family involved, allowing for two, three, four, or six players.
There are many more games that you can play with your child to help develop eye-hand coordination. The key is looking for games that require the eyes and hands to work together when manipulating an object. If your child is too young to begin playing strategy games, simply rolling a ball to your child and encouraging him to throw or roll it back is a great way to start early development of eye-hand coordination.
Just like muscles, the more your child practices and works with various cognitive abilities, the more advanced their skills will become. It doesn’t hurt to keep exercising mom and dad’s eye-hand coordination either. Keeping your brain active at any age makes for a healthier, higher quality of life and that is definitely worth the time it takes to play a few fun games.
Audrey writes for Personal EYES, a laser eye surgery clinic in Sydney. They offer the most extensive range of vision correction procedures in Australia so they can choose the procedure that’s right for you.