Bookmark and Share

Eye-Hand Coordination — A Team That Works Together to Get the Job Done


By Barbara Greenspan, OT, Pediatric Occupational Therapist

 

Many of us think eye-hand coordination is something the ‘big-kids’ need to play team sports like baseball and tennis. But actually, eye-hand coordination begins developing in early infancy. In order to achieve proper coordination, the hands and eyes must work together in smooth and efficient patterns. This is achieved through effective control of the head and neck, which enables the eyes to monitor the work of the hands.

 

The Eyes: Nature has it set up so that controlled eye movements developmentally precede controlled hand movements. That is why babies use their eyes before they master the use of their hands. As infants, eyes develop in a clear developmental sequence as follows:

 

 

The Hands: Just like the eyes develop in a sequence designed for function, so do the hands.

 

 

Mastery of reaching for objects requires good postural control of the head, neck, trunk and upper arms. These areas must be strong before good hand manipulation occurs. Think of a tree-the trunk must be strong in order to support the branches (so much goes in to this eye-hand coordination!).

 

The first “tool” for eye-hand: When the hands are developing they progress from a simple grasp-release pattern through using tools and objects. The first real “tool” introduced to the hand is the spoon for self-feeding. The hand holds it and the eyes watch the spoon to direct it from the food on the plate to the mouth. As the child grows, they use more refined tools like crayons (use small, broken ones to fit the little hands!) and the eyes are watching as the hand moves the crayon. As the child gets older, he or she can begin to follow mazes and use the eyes to lead the hand in the right direction. In pre-school at 3 or 4 years old, he or she begin to cut with scissors and use the eyes to direct their hands.

 

Ways to work on eye-hand:

 

 

Eye-hand coordination is something that begins to develop at birth and continues throughout childhood. It is a skill children use daily in their occupations as students and athletes - and for just plain fun! So enjoy, and notice how much you use your eyes to direct your hands! You will be amazed!

 

Great toys for developing Hand - Eye Coordination

 

If you liked this article, you may also want to read our other developmental articles:

 

Untitled Document
Guidelines for Summer Activities Gopi K. Patel, MSE.d
Learning Through Movement… A Sensory-Rich Way to Help Children Barbara Greenspan, OT
Five Elements of Successfully Disciplining Your Toddler Andy Eig, PhD.
Preventing Family Headaches Andy Eig, PhD.

Let's Get... Potty Trained!

Gopi K. Patel, MSE.d
Play is A Lot More Than Fun and Games Shari Harpaz, MS, CCC-SLP
Understanding Your Child's Personality Gopi K. Patel, MSE.d
Nursemaid's Elbow Deanie Barth, MSPT
Torticollis – What Every Parent Should Know Barbara Greenspan, OT
Getting to Know Your Body Barbara Greenspan, OT
Learning to Read Starts Young Shari Harpaz, MS, CCC-SLP
It’s All In The Hands - Ways to Develop Fine Motor Skills Barbara Greenspan, OT
Understanding the Different Modes/Styles of Learning Shari Harpaz, MS, CCC-SLP
Achieving Gross Motor Milestones and Play Skills Through Summer Time Fun Deanie Barth, MSPT
Help With Grandparents Andy Eig, PhD.
Helicopter Parenting Barbara Greenspan, OT
Eye-Hand Coordination Barbara Greenspan, OT
Five Major Milestones for Early Physical Development Deanie Barth, MSPT
It's All About the Core Deanie Barth, MSPT
Using Time Outs Properly and Effectively Andy Eig, PhD.
Making Room for Two Andy Eig, PhD.
Giving is MORE than Toys Gopi K. Patel, MSE.d
Using the  5  7 Senses Barbara Greenspan, OT
Have You Spanked Your Children? Gopi K. Patel, MSE.d
What to Expect During the Sixth Year of Your Baby's Life Gopi K. Patel, MSE.d
What to Expect During the Third Year of Your Baby's Life Gopi K. Patel, MSE.d
What to Expect During the Second Year of Your Baby's Life Barbara Greenspan, OT
What to Expect During the First Year of Your Baby's Life Deanie Barth, MSPT
Psychiatric Medication and Young Children: Is there too much pill popping? Andy Eig, PhD.
Exersaucers, Swings and Jumpers— A help or hindrance to development? Deanie Barth, MSPT
Technology — A Chief Culprit in Language Delays Shari Harpaz, MS, CCC-SLP
HELP! My Child Has Tantrums Gopi K. Patel, MSE.d
Great Indoor Winter Play Ideas Barbara Greenspan, OT