Have you come across with the word called ‘eye-hand coordination’ before? Many might think it is a special skill, which related to athletes or sportsmen. A coordination skill which learned by them and eventually mastering it in order to improve the game performance, and then winning the tournaments. The eye-hand coordination is one of the body’s most vital coordination which involved the hands and the eyes of a human being. This two vital organ must work together in order to achieve a proper coordination so that every operation is smooth and in efficient patterns. Head and neck effective control is as important as the overall hands work out whereby both the eyes observe the hands’ operation.
So when do we as a human would be able to develop this crucial body coordination? The actual fact is the eye-hand coordination begins developing in early infancy, which is from the moment the babies opened their eyes to the world. The babies will first to see their moms and dads face, and then slowly to see their surroundings before be able to use their other abilities. This is one of the baby development stages which are the crucial growth of the infant’s and that is vision, touching, hearing, smelling, and tasting. The eye-hand coordination games or toys could facilitate the babies with all the necessary tools especially in development of eye-hand coordination ability.
First Eye-hand Coordination Instrument: The Eyes
The moment the babies opened their eyes, vision had become the greatest instrument for understanding what is seen. The visionary involves more than simple ability like to distinguish fine details, eye aiming and teaming, eye movements, focusing, and eye-hand coordination control. The human eyes are the most data rich physical structure on the body. For each eye, there are 1 million nerve fibers that connect to the brain and about 10 million or more cells interacting in complex ways. What a complex process going on in our human eyes! By the nature, the developments upon the eye control precede the hand movements. That is why in the initial stage the babies use their eyes before mastering the use of their hands.
Let’s look at the eyes’ development of the infants for the first six months of age:
- In the first 3 months, a process called ‘localization’ where the babies will train their vision to locate a target such as their mom or an object (toys for babies). The baby learning toys can be use at this early age of infant as it will later improve their sight.
- Further at four months of age, the ‘fixation’ process where the baby could uphold a stationary gazes or stares at an object. They could stare at the object without moving in as long as few minutes and mom could help by facing her infant in the face. Peek-a-boo…!
- At five months, an interesting process called ‘ocular pursuit’ will typically start. In this period, the baby’s vision becomes the movement tracker of an object with their eyes. He or she is able to follow the mom’s movement or an object (baby activity toys) moves away by moving the head and neck along.
- And at half a year, the ‘gaze shifting’ ability begins. The baby vision becomes more skillful as the child can quickly and accurately shifts, his or her gaze by moving independently from the head. It means watching a moving toy or an object while keeping the head and neck at static position.
Second Eye-hand Coordination Instrument: The Hands
The hands, one of the body extraordinary instruments as most of the man-made creation are made with it. Reaching out for an object is the mastery that requires good postural control of the head, neck, trunk and upper arms. The four fundamental areas must be sturdy before fine hand manipulation occurs. Just image a tree with lots of branches and with the principle the trunk must be strong in order to support the branches and leaves, of course. Besides being an important mechanism in eye-hand coordination (in conjunction with fine motor skills), the hands also have the ways with the environment feel such as textures (soft, hard, silky, or rough), size (big or small), surface (wet or dry), temperature (cold or hot), slippery, and so forth. We can also feel the motion like the direction an object rotates (clockwise or anti clockwise movement).
The hands have a special way of its development as infants explore new things with it:
- The baby’s hands learning process begins with grasping an object and of course by the help of the eyes. Simply by saying, ‘what you see is what you get’.
- And then, they are able to grasp the objects and release it when they don’t feel holding it much longer or gripping power has its limit.
- Next the baby will soon learn to move an object within the hand (in-hand manipulation) like the push-and-pull toys (educational baby toys). Then both of the hands can work together to play or hold an object (bilateral hand skills) which creates a multiple task or manipulations.
- As the infants grown into toddlers, the hand development is considered complete as they could master every movement they made independently in order to archive their objectives. The fine motor skill would increase the capacity of eye-hand coordination through playing with the toys for babies. The eye-hand coordination games or toys at much higher level of learning will help expanding their physical skills.
Situation where the Eye-hand Coordination Games Helped
The hand movements require the visual input to be carried out effectively. In direct translation, the eye-hand coordination uses the eyes to direct attention and the hands to execute any task. From the age of 4 to 14 months, infants explore their surroundings and develop eye-hand coordination and in conjunction with fine motor skills that involved in the control of small muscle movements. Take an example of an infant starts to use his or her fingers with a reason and in synchronization with the eyes. Most infants are eager to move their eyes, mouths, hands, and legs toward the people and objects that comfort and interest them.
As the infant grows, they learned to draw while following the position of the hand holding the pencil visually as they make lines on the paper. Same goes when they use more refined tools like crayons and the eyes are watching as the hand moves the crayon. Eye-hand coordination games like building blocks, nesting cups and shape sorters, push and pull toys, puzzles, and so forth are among the baby learning toys, designed for this purpose. In pre-school at 3 or 4 years old, he or she begins to cut with scissors and use the eyes to direct their hands.
Other ways to work on eye-hand coordination games:
- Playing with a balloon (filled with air) is a great way to get the eyes to follow a moving object because a balloon moves so slowly, it is easy to follow.
- Playing ball is another great way to work on eye-hand coordination. Start rolling a ball to your baby and watch his or her eyes follow the ball.
- Building block spot are for greater development where the infants or toddlers will be building basics geometry skills. They will be matching, stacking, sorting, and learning to recognize shapes.
- As your child grows you can work on throwing and catching with a playground ball and progress to a smaller ball. Tennis balls are great fun to catch and throw for 4 and 5 years old. Warm these kids up with a big ball and progress to a smaller ball when they are successful.
- Dribbling is also a great activity to develop eye-hand coordination. Four, five and six years old feel so good about themselves when they can dribble with one hand and then progress to alternating hands!
In conclusion, eye-hand coordination is one of the human vital skills, and it begins to develop at birth, and continues throughout childhood. It is an essential skill that will determine whether the child would be successful in his or her learning (with eye-hand coordination games or toys) as well as physical development. It is a skill very children use in their daily life and will continue until they could master it independently.