What is hand eye co-ordination?
Hand eye co-ordination combines vision and hand movement to complete a task. It requires the coordination of eye movement with hand movement, and processing visual input to guide the hand to reach and grasp while working out where the hand is in relation to other physical objects. In other words, a baby is learning to combine a whole bunch of skills into one seamless whole.
It’s amazing when you think about it.
Why do babies need to develop hand eye co-ordination?
Babies are developing their hand eye co-ordination so that they can learn to hold a pencil and form letters, tie their shoelaces, throw a ball to where they want it to go, button a shirt, and manoeuvre food into their mouths.
How do babies develop hand eye co-ordination?
Babies will naturally open and shut their hands, and try to bring their hands (or feet!) to their mouths. You can help in the early months by letting baby grab at objects while sitting on your lap, or by using a baby gym, for example.
How can you help your baby develop hand eye co-ordination?
Your baby will naturally practice hand eye coordination. Taste testing fingers and toes in the mouth is an early way for baby to co-ordinate getting an object to go where she wants it to go.
Babies learn through play, like other animals, learn through play. You can help baby by playing with her. When your baby is very young, you can shake a rattle at her. The sound will catch her attention, and pretty soon she’ll begin to bat at it. As her hand eye co-ordination develops, she’ll be able to grasp it and pull it towards her mouth for further exploration.
Three to Six Months:
Your baby will start to learn about Cause and Effect, and will soon work out that to get the toy to move on the baby gym, she needs to kick it. Trying to kick it will develop her hand eye coordination.
It’s a good idea to provide lots of different colours and textures at this age, so that baby’s natural curiousity will spur her on in her efforts to grab things.
Six to Twelve Months:
Your baby’s hand eye coordination will gradually improve, as will her Fine Motor Skills, and by twelve months she should be able to combine these skills to pick up small objects like raisins in a pincher grip.
There are particular activities and toys that will help children develop their hand eye co-ordination. Always ensure that toys are age appropriate, to prevent frustration and to allow even youngest babies a sense of achievement when they manage to do what they’ve been trying to do.
Providing a variety of toys in different colours, shapes and textures, and rotating these regularly will allow baby to experience a wide range of objects.
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