Improving coordination is a combination of increasing muscle strength and muscle memory. The term muscle memory describes the enhancement of the neurological connection between the muscle and the brain that increases the body’s ability to perform a specific movement. Both strength and dexterity are developed through repetition, and children can participate in a variety of enjoyable activities that require repetitive movements.
Gross Motor Coordination
Gross, or large, motor skills are movements of the arms, legs and trunk that allow your child to walk, run, kick, jump, throw, twist and turn. For an engaging activity for overall development of large motor skill coordination, set up an obstacle course with common household items such as chairs, ottomans, boxes, pillows and whatever else you can think of, for your child to run and crawl through. Other fun activities for children to improve coordination of gross motor skills include playing games such as tag, gymnastic exercises such as somersaults and climbing on monkey bars at the park.
Fine Motor Coordination
Fine, or small, motor skill coordination is necessary for tasks that require precise dexterity. Fun activities that will improve your child’s fine motor coordination skills include any type of games that require manipulation of small objects such as puzzles, craft projects, drawing and painting with their fingers. Other games to improve coordination include giving your child a lock with several different keys and letting her figure out which key opens the lock or having her twist nuts onto bolts with her fingers. Cutting shapes out of paper with scissors and molding objects from clay are also fun activities for development of fine motor skill coordination.
From being able to write legibly to playing sports, hand-eye coordination gives your child the ability to allow his eyes to guide his hands to complete a task. Many of the same activities that help improve both larger and small motor skills also work well on developing hand-eye coordination, such as dogging obstacles or making a sand castle. Other fun actives that will help improve hand eye coordination are tossing bean bags into a bucket, playing horse shoes or catching and throwing a ball.
Integrated Coordination Activities
Team sports such as basketball, baseball, football, hockey and soccer are all excellent activities for improving your child’s hand-eye coordination as well as also developing both his fine and gross motor skill coordination. Individual activities that improve overall coordination include jumping rope, kick boxing, fishing, Hacky Sack. An enjoyable activity that you can play with your child to improve his overall coordination is a game called “mirror, mirror.” As the name implies, you and your child stand facing each other and take turns mirroring each other’s movements. Also, a good old game a leap frog, where you and your child take turns jumping over each other while in a crouching position, will integrate large, small and hand-eye coordination skills.