Developing Physical Skills

Developing Physical Skills

11 January 2021

Physical skills are linked to the development of cognition. Catching, throwing and kicking are skills necessary for sports skills but also necessary for mastering the skills of writing, reading, rhythm and timing along with the ability to judge speed, distance and direction.

Hand-eye coordination is the ability of the vision system to co-ordinate the information received through the eyes to control, guide and direct the hands to accomplish a task such as writing or catching a ball. Hand-eye co-ordination uses the eyes to direct attention and the hands to execute a task.  The same could be said for foot-eye coordination.

It is important we expose children to many different activities that will help develop these specific skills.  Using their feet/hands and eyes are an important part of a child’s development, and ball handling skills also develop an awareness of preferred hand and foot.

Here's some practical skills to engage with children so they may practice and develop their physical skills:

  • Lie baby on his tummy and roll a toy in front of his eyes, across and toward and away – not only encourages eye movements but also upper body strength.
  • Use finger puppets, play finger games like ‘two little dicky birds”.
  • Give children sticks or rulers and ask them to catch bubbles on them.
  • Use balloons and fly swats; hit the balloon up and down.
  • Play skittles.
  • Tell make believe stories without pictures; let them use their bodies and imagination, and talk about what they thought of and did.
  • Place a ball in a plastic bag and hang it from a hook – use a football for kicking practise or a smaller ball for hitting - you can also use it as a wrecking ball with skittles!
  • Feathers are great—allow them to fall down over your baby or older children can throw them up in the air (hands, on head, on foot, etc).
  • Play games with simple rules such as soccer or “Duck, Duck, Goose”.
  • Create obstacle courses either indoors or outdoors for children to balance, crawl, and climb over.
  • Visit the local park playground and allow children the time to explore.
  • Playing games such as “Simon Says” and introduce crossing the midline skills such as patting the left knee with the right hand.
  • Squeezing clothes pegs onto a piece of card or around a bucket encourages children to use fine motor skills and develop the muscles used to hold a writing instrument.