Hand eye coordination activities for children with disabilities who are mobile with learning difficulties.
This page is for our Leopards: children with disabilities who are mobile with learning difficulties and is full of fun activities to help improve their hand eye coordination.
Hand eye coordination is the relationship with what we see and how we use our hands. As we develop, we no longer need to look at our hands to be able to use them. We connect what we see with our eyes and move our hands accordingly. This skill is developed through much practice and is essential for every day tasks such as dressing, eating, playing sport, climbing, writing and even using a tablet.
Before trying these exercises, take a minute to prepare your child. To wake up their muscles, squeeze their hands, tips of their fingers and their arms. You could also use a brush along their skin, or a vibrating massager. All of these can help to make your child more aware of their fingers/ hand/ arm which can then help them be more accurate and learn more effectively.
Make sure your child is successful in their game as this will motivate them to continue. As you push them to get to the next level, they should be able to manage a few of their attempts to stay motivated-even if they are not successful at all of them.
Remember to praise the effort rather than the result to motivate them to keep putting in effort and not be put off if they don’t succeed.
Most of these activities will feel like fun anyhow but feel free to adapt the hand eye coordination exercise to make it more entertaining for your child.
Use the sequence below to progress your child’s hand/eye coordination. They may start at the beginning or half way down – wherever you think your child will be successful but still be challenged. If your child is not ready to attempt a certain activity, look at those either before or after which may suit them better.
Cause and effect
Challenging your child’s Hand/ eye coordination can begin with cause and effect activities. Your child will do something with their hand and this will cause something to happen which they will see. This can be even more effective if there is a noise or movement as well as something to see. Your child will start to associate movement of their hand with an outcome which is the starting point for building hand/eye coordination.
Good cause and effect activities can be:
Beating a drum, hitting a bell, hitting notes on a keyboard.
If you don’t have any instruments at home you can use everyday object such as a wooden spoon and upside down saucepan, a plastic bottle with some rice in it as a rattle or silver foil to scrunch.
For other ideas, go to https://www.activityvillage.co.uk/musical-instruments which has some other easy ways you can make musical instruments from everyday objects in the home.
There are some fabulous apps for tablets which require very little movement to get a big effect. Our favourites include:
Sensory Light box or Sensory Soundbox (£2.99 each from Apple or Android). Just a touch on the screen produces a wide variety of sounds and noises. As you move your fingers/ hand the noises change. Very calming or stimulating, depending on the setting and wonderful feedback for cause and effect.
Fluidity HD (free – for Apple devices only) – beautiful flowing colours controlled by any touch on the screen.
Baby’s Musical hands (free – for Apple and Android)- musical and colourful app – any touch will play a piano sound
Finger paint (free for Apple and Android) – opportunity to paint with different colours and sounds. Can use multiple fingers at a time if 1 finger painting isn’t possible.
Duck Duck Moose nursery rhymes series.(free on Apple and Android) These are a series of apps with entertaining and often surprising cause and effect options which can keep your younger child (and you) entertained for ages. They are pretty frustration free as this can be played with children who have less dexterity in their hands. We particularly like Itzy Bitsy HD, Old Mac HD and Trucks HD.
Dr Panda series (Apple and Android, vary from free to up to £3.99) has some lovely options with simple yet entertaining games for young children which require a little accuracy with a pointing finger but nothing too complicated.. We enjoy Dr Panda Restaurant, Hospital, Beauty Salon and Daycare.
More Hand/ Eye Coordination activities and ideas:
Start by blowing bubbles and catching them with the bubble wand. Bring this closer to your child and ask them to pop it with their hand. If they can’t use a pointer finger they can just use their whole hand.
Move the wand around so that they are popping in different directions.
Blow a load of bubbles into the air so that they can just wave their arms around to pop the bubbles.
Move on to blowing less bubbles so the child is encouraged to be more accurate with their popping.
Roll a ball between you. Start with a big ball and get smaller as your child improves.
Move onto stopping the ball when it comes to you before rolling back.
Try rolling with more accuracy-e.g. into a container/ laundry basket on its side etc.
Try stopping the ball with 2 hands.
Try stopping the ball with 1 hand.
Staying nice and close to each other on the floor, roll a balloon to your child and ask them to hit it back. This is great for cause and effect as little effort goes a long way and the balloon moves slowly so gives more time to aim the hit back.
As your child improves, stand further apart and launch the balloon into the air rather than along the floor.
Set up a wobble board using a tray and a bottle or rolling pin.
This video shows you how to play this great hand eye coordination game.
Use a beanbag or soft toy to practice throwing. Start with a big container or target very close to the child.
As the child gets more accurate, move the container further away.
You could use colours or other descriptions to throw into different containers (e.g. red toys into bucket, green toys onto the laundry basket or dinosaurs through the hoop, farm animals into the saucepan.)
Set up a 10 pin bowling set with empty plastic bottles or stack a pyramid of empty tins.
Start very close to the target.
Give the child a large soft ball or soft toy to throw.
Encourage them to get more accurate by seeing how many throws it takes to knock them all over.
As your child gets more accurate, move the target further away.
You could also set up a points system by drawing a target on some cardboard and fixing it to the door or on the floor. You could also use bits of paper or post it notes on the wall as more difficult targets-the higher and smaller the target, the higher the points.
This is a fantastic game and involves playing in teams and getting your team’s ball nearest to a target ball. It can be played with as few as 2 people.
If you don’t have balls, use rolled up socks.
See this video for details on the rules for this very inclusive game you can play anywhere.
Give your child a bucket. This could rest on the floor if they are in sitting or in their arms in standing.
Throw a beanbag or other soft toy into the air and they need to move the bucket to catch it.
As they get better, make the bucket or container smaller so they have to increase their accuracy.
You could also make the ball small or harder for an extra challenge.
Start with a big soft ball and standing/ sitting very close together. Roll the ball into your child’s hands so they get used to holding it and balancing the ball between 2 hands.
Ask your child to throw it back and keep practising until they are accurate to you at a very small distance.
Start moving back a little so there is a gap between you.
Start making the ball a bit smaller-soft balls and beanbags are easier to catch than fully inflated balls. If you don’t have balls at home use rolled up socks, small cushions or soft toys.
Move onto large inflated balls such as footballs and then get smaller
Progress from 2 handed catches onto 1 handed catches
Try also catching on your own-throwing into the air or against a wall.
Try moving further apart from each other one step at a time to increase the challenge. If you are feeling brave try this outside with water balloons.
There are many different levels of juggling.
Create a ‘Juggle-board’ to show you how you can juggle with your child without having to throw balls in the air. See this video to see how to do this.
You can also juggle using your body creases. Try trapping the ball/ toy/ beanbag, in the elbow, under the chin, between the shoulder and cheek, under the arm or behind the knee and then letting go. Move the object between creases (elbow to elbow, cheek to elbow).
Or you can juggle with 1, 2 or 3 balls into the air. See our videos which shows your child how they can do this.
An egg and spoon race is a great way to challenge hand eye coordination while multi-tasking.
Use a large spoon and a small ball. The child must get from A to B without the ball falling of their spoon.
Progress this by putting obstacles in the way. First, ask them just to walk around obstacles.
Progress to stepping over objects, going backwards or going around the whole house including up and down the stairs (make sure you stay close for safety).
Start with putting soft toys or larger balls into an open container.
Progress to smaller toys into a smaller container. You could combine this with a matching game-putting the red objects into the red container etc.
Shape sorter games are fantastic for eye hand coordination. If you don’t have any, cut a hole in the lid of a plastic pot and post small objects.
As your child gets more accurate, cut smaller holes or slits and post smaller objects such as coins, pebbles or buttons. You could cut different sizes of slits for different sizes of objects so they have to work our sizes as they post.
Puzzles are lovely for teaching children to match up shapes. Some children will try to use force instead of turning the puzzle piece to make it fit so start with easy puzzles where they can be more successful to teach theme about turning the puzzle piece (or turning the board if they can’t turn their hand as well).
Puzzles with pegs on them are often the best place to start if children don’t have full hand control.
Move onto regular flat puzzles as skills improve.
Use smaller pieces as skills improve.
If you don’t have puzzles at home, find a pretty page from a magazine and cut it into pieces. Your child can piece the pieces back together.
Use finger paints to start getting cause and effect and develop hand/ eye coordination. Start with lines up and down and side to side before trying diagonal and finally circles (which are more complex). See Fine Motor Skills for more details.
In messy play this is good opportunity to make trails with fingers, follow lines, manoeuvre objects around etc. See messy play for ideas.
Move onto using paintbrushes, crayons, chalk etc for painting and drawing.
Here are a selection of suitable Our Home videos for Leopards
This obstacle path is suitable for children who are mobile.
This video is suitable for mobile children. You can create the laser string quest anywhere in your home and make it as big or small or as easy as you like!
The scavenger hunt is really simple and easy to set up. It can be adapted to suit any disability and household.
Silly Socks and a bit of Boccia
We have created some fun easy to set up games. All you need are some socks!
Stealthy Ways for Handwashing
This video contains tips on how to ‘stealth handwash’ whilst still having fun with various kitchen or household props. And also how to pimp up our liquid pumps to make it more fun for children.