Eye-hand coordination - you may have heard of this many times from educators, parenting blogs, and experts. However, regardless of the sea of articles and videos talking about it, some parents aren't still clear about what eye-hand coordination is, why it is important, and how parents improve children's eye-hand coordination.
What Is Eye-hand Coordination?
Let's learn about it from our daily life. When someone throws something at you, say a baseball, you need to use your eyes to tell the distance, velocity, and track of the incoming ball. Then you can raise a hand to fetch it. When I am writing this article, I need to occasionally look down at my keyboard so that I know where to put my fingers correctly. There are examples of eye-hand coordination.
As per how Wikipedia explains, "eye-hand coordination is the coordinated control of eye movement with hand movement and the processing of visual input to guide reaching and grasping along with the use of proprioception of the hands to guide the eyes." In simple terms, the eye-hand coordination is about eyes and hands helping each other do their jobs.
Why Is Eye-hand Coordination Important?
Behind the seemingly apparent concept, there is a complicated mechanism that involves vision, movement, and how brains receive signals and turn them into commands. For example, people with dispaired vision problems (like strabismus) or brain injuries are more likely to display disordered hand movements like failure to touch, grasp, and hold. Before it was scientifically studied, people tended to see movement disruption and visual handicap separately. Now with a better understanding of the mechanism, therapists can rehabilitate patients with comprehensive approaches, thus increasing the patients' chance to resume their normal life.
For parents, it is also important to understand the coordination between eyes and hands. Parents need to adopt a series of approaches to help children develop their eye-hand cooperation abilities. A research report by Indiana University shows that there is a strong connection between hand-eye coordination and their abilities to communicate and learn. Another research by the Association for Psychological Science reveals that children's ability of eye-hand coordination also correlates with their writing, maths, and reading skills. In simple terms, helping children develop their eye-hand coordination can also improve their elementary capabilities at school and in society.
How Do Parents Improve Children's Eye-hand Coordination?
Montessori educators suggest a series of exercises to develop children's eye-hand coordination. Based on the kid's age, parents can adopt different exercises.
Use sound toys to attract their attention
Toys that make sounds can attract babies' and toddlers' attention, and guide them to use their eyes to explore things around them. For example, this Audible Flashcard Machine is ideal for toddlers to use their hands to insert the card and their eyes to identify the word. When the sound meets with the word, kids would discover the fun in exploration with their hands and eyes.
Use building blocks to train them to grasp and move subjects
Building blocks are recommended by many educators and therapists as a means to develop children's eye-hand coordination at an early age. Parents can teach children to recognize colors and shapes with building blocks. It helps children use their brains to process the information received by their eyes. Children can use their hands to feel the shapes, distances, and sizes of the blocks, and move them to a place as their eyes guide them.
Remember to choose toys that are safely designed and made for kids. The recommended diameter for spherical toys is above 1.25 inches, according to kidshealth.org. In the Ealingkids Magnetic Rods and Balls set, the magnetic balls are sized 1.4 inches in diameter. With proper guidance from parents, children can be safe from choking hazards with the toy set and enjoy a fast and healthy early education.
Use art toys to enhance brain development
Art exercises stimulate children's brain growth with more synapses pathways between brain cells, as suggested by neuroscientists. The learning of writing, reading, communicating, and many other skills also rely on synapses, so it's important to help them develop their synapses through art exercises. In addition, art exercises that involve hands like drawing, puzzles, and origami train children with better fine motor skills, which will help them learn to write faster.
There are many art toys in the market. A comprehensive choice would be the Ealingkids Wooden Art Easel. It allows children to doodle on its easy-clean whiteboard, as well as play with numbers, letters, and animal pins on the magnetic board side. Parents can also use the easel to teach children to read and write at home or outdoor. The organic materials would keep children safe from hazardous chemicals.
We already know that eye-hand coordination is important for children's physical and intellectual development. With the world of toys provided by Ealingkids, parents can find high-quality, safe, and innovative tools to develop children's eye-hand coordination.