It is widely discussed how sport and physical activity can help improve young children’s social, emotional and physical health. Researchers at The University of Leeds recently led a study that digs even deeper than this. Just over 300 children aged 4-11 took part in the study that used computer-based tasks to measure their co-ordination and interceptive timing.
Hand-eye coordination benefits young children on a daily basis, whether it be doing buttons up on a school shirt or playing with a ball at break time. Scientists define it as the ability to do activities that require simultaneous use of our hands and eyes. If we’re getting really scientific about things; we use our eyes to detect a stimulus, helping the brain to understand where the body is located in space. Our hands then have the job to simultaneously carry out a task, based on the visual information our eyes have received.
Hand-Eye Coordination Benefits Children in The Classroom
Now, that’s enough of the technical stuff! Let’s break down how hand-eye coordination can really benefit our young ones in the classroom. Hand-eye coordination is used WHENEVER we write; our eyes are able to send the information to the brain to tell it where exactly our hand needs to go, and then move to generate desired shapes and lines. In an ever-growing digital world, typing on a keyboard is more of a norm than ever, with hand-eye coordination contributing to the ability to type with ease and success.
In the study led by researchers at The University of Leeds, children who performed better in tasks were on average, 9 months ahead educationally than those classmates who struggled in tasks. Professor Mon-Williams commented on this, saying that when a child shows good hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness, they perform better when processing numbers. Not only this, they also tend to be more abstract thinkers.
How to Improve Your Child’s Coordination
There are many, many ways to help improve your child’s coordination, why not try some of these fun (and mostly free) activities:
- Wheelbarrow walking: The adult holding the legs of the child whilst the child walks with their hands.
- Swimming:When swimming the body must work against the resistance of the water, improving awareness of where the body is.
- Kneeling: Whilst kneeling playing activities such as catch of trying to keep a balloon off the floor..
- Hopscotch: Transferring weight from one leg to two and then back again means movement is changing frequently.
- Stepping stone: Encourages big jumps from item to item to improve balance.
- Bike and scooter: Both requiring the child to work with balance.
- SoccerDays Football Class: A wide range of fun and exciting activities and football classes for toddlers that your little one will LOVE… (How couldn’t we…)