The Role of Hand-Eye Coordination Toys in Occupational Therapy
Writing, holding a glass of water, pressing a button on the telephone—these are mundane tasks that we might not give much thought about. We simply do them. However, these simple tasks can be challenging when a person has poor hand-eye coordination.
What is Hand-Eye Coordination?
Our vision is closely tied to how well we move. The system responsible for our eyesight sends signals to our muscles to make our hands move. This is how hand-eye coordination happens. Simply put, hand-eye coordination refers to our ability to process information received from the eyes to guide and direct the hands to perform a task.
In children, the development of hand-eye coordination is easily observed. For example, you want to teach your toddler to write their name. They may see the shape of letters already, but since their hand-eye coordination is not fully or properly developed, they can’t write those letters just yet. That is why children start learning how to write in scribbles.
Apart from the ability to perform everyday tasks, children need to develop hand-eye coordination because it is linked with academic performance. In a study published in the journal Psychological Science, researchers from the UK observed that children who performed better at hand-eye coordination tasks tended to have higher scores in reading, writing and mathematics.
This shows why it’s crucial to develop hand-eye coordination from childhood. If children don’t develop their coordination skills, they might:
- Avoid physical activities
- Be slower than their peers when it comes to mastering physical skills
- Become clumsy
- Have difficulty learning academically
- Have trouble developing their social skills
The good news is there is an easily-accessible, engaging way to help your child develop their hand-eye coordination: The use of toys.
Incorporating Hand-Eye Coordination Toys in Children’s Playtime
Toys have long been used as tools that help develop children’s cognitive skills. Playing with dolls, for example, helps develop a child’s social skills and imagination and it also promotes responsibility, empathy and compassion.
If you want to help your child develop their coordination skills, incorporating hand-eye coordination toys into their daily playtime is essential.
Examples of such toys include:
- Building blocks
- Shape sorters
- Colouring/Painting sets
The Benefits of Using Hand-Eye Coordination Toys for Children’s Playtime
Hand-eye coordination games and activities can be an effective way to develop your child’s coordination skills. The use of such toys also comes with the following benefits:
- Improved Reaction Times
Toys that prompt your child’s eyes and hands to work together teach your child how to respond to tasks quicker and more efficiently. Improving this skill helps children in note-taking activities in class, as well as taking timed tests.
- Improved Productivity
Hand-eye coordination toys help systematise the way a child moves, thus enhancing their productivity. Because their hands and eyes are working together, in sync, when using a hand-eye coordination toy, they are practically multi-tasking, a skill that’s important to learn as they grow.
- Improved Academic Performance
Children’s eyes are one of their main tools for learning, and hand-eye coordination toys can help develop their visual acuity. As a result, instead of having to put conscious effort in the mechanics of activities such as reading, writing and interpreting information, they can perform these tasks with ease.
Fortunately, hand-eye coordination toys can be easily integrated into children’s everyday routine. If you need professional help in developing your child’s coordination skills, Access Therapy Services is here to help. They provide occupational therapy services, helping children and adults live life to the fullest.
If your child needs occupational therapy, book an appointment with Access Therapy Services today.