As parents, we are very concerned with the development of our children – first words, first steps and of course learning to read the first time! Yet it is also important that we develop our children’s hand-eye coordination. In this article, we explain why hand-eye coordination is so important for toddlers and how we can develop hand-eye coordination in toddlers.

What is hand-eye coordination?

Eye-hand coordination or hand-eye coordination is the ability to perform activities that require the simultaneous use of our eyes and hands. It is an activity in which the information that our eyes perceive is used to guide our hands in performing a movement.
For example:

  • Put a round block in a round hole
  • Put puzzle pieces in place
  • Colorize a coloring page

Hand-eye coordination is not always easy because we have to let our mental and motor skills work together. Nevertheless, good hand-eye coordination is very important for the motor, mental and even academic development of the child.

How to learn fine motor skills?

Fine motor skills require the small muscles in our wrists, hands and fingers to work together. These small muscles then have to synchronize with the brain to perform small and fine movements. For example, someone with fine motor skills can draw and write more beautifully.
These skills can develop from a very young age – yet it is only when your child is a toddler that it becomes easy to practice these fine motor skills. Developing those muscles involves actions such as holding, grasping, pressing, or using a forceps grip.

Why is hand-eye coordination important?

Developing hand-eye coordination results in better reaction times, athleticism and improved agility. It can ensure that your child has better handwriting, can make faster and more focused movements with the hand and can paint and draw better.
However, if your toddler has poor hand-eye coordination, this can cause longer to spend time on handwriting in primary school. In extreme cases, it can also impact your child’s academic performance and cause your child to lag behind in school.

Znoet - Mountain Game
Znoet - Mountain Game
Znoet - Mountain Game

How can you improve your toddler’s hand-eye coordination?

There are many things you can do to improve your toddler’s hand-eye coordination. Below we give you some examples of games you can play or activities you can undertake with your toddler to improve hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

  1. Play dough
    Letting your child play with materials such as clay and Play dough is an excellent way for children to build fine motor skills. Children can learn to make balls or roll snakes.
  2. Puzzles
    Solve puzzles together. By picking up puzzle pieces and putting them in place, you teach your child the tang grip.
    Involve and encourage your child as much as possible to complete simple puzzles first and then more difficult ones. By looking for puzzle pieces, including them and putting them down in the correct way, your child will learn to develop fine motor skills.
  3. Drawing and coloring
    By letting your child draw and paint you can help your toddler to generate fine motor skills. In addition, drawing and painting are also good for boosting your child’s creativity.
  4. Cut with toddler scissors
    Teach your child to cut with toddler scissors. First let them follow very simple lines and then make it more difficult step by step.
  5. Playing in the bath
    Use sponges or squeaky rubber toys to squeeze and cups to fill and pour the water.

Learning by playing

As you can see above, there are a lot of games you can play together to improve your toddler’s hand-eye coordination. It is very important that hand-eye coordination is taught in a playful way in the first instance. It is only when there is a development delay that it is advisable to call in a professional.