Do you remember playing Simon Says? Well, it wasn’t just a silly game to keep you out of trouble. Simon Says actually works to help wake up the brain-body connection and the result can be a more focused, attentive Individual.
Using the hands and feet in coordination with the eyes has been shown to have a profound effect on sensory processing, attention and overall ability to focus. As both sides of the brain are engaged, the cerebellum is stimulated and the results can be nothing short of outstanding.
As a therapist, eye-hand coordination in combination with balance activities are my go to treatment for about 90% of my clients from birth through senior. Let’s take a look at some ways to use coordination to help focus and attend.
Eye-Hand Games. This can be something as simple as playing catch, singing, “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes…” or tossing beanbags. Place targets on the floor or wall using masking tape, or use baskets. You can even combine the targets with academic activities such as word recognition or math. You can count as you catch. You can toss with your right hand and then switch to the left.
Eye-Foot Games. The same goes for the feet but this time…no hands! Try using only your right foot and then only your left foot to kick a ball. Place marker spots on the floor and alternate right and left feet as you go forward, using red for right and lemon yellow for left. Use a maze board on the wall to manipulate with your feet.
Crossing Midline. Grab some scarves or beanbags and toss with the right hand, but catch with the left. And now switch. Grab a tube and place a Ping-Pong ball inside and track the ball back and forth with your eyes. Try a maze game. Or your kids may really enjoy a choice of activities.
Obstacle Courses. Grab pillows, crash mats, mattresses, beanbags, chairs and other obstacles to create an obstacle course. Learn to go over, under, around and next to. Hop to one object and then crawl to the next. Can you walk on your heels?
Mobility. Climb a ladder, pedal a bike, ride on a scooter, and learn to skate. Mobile toys teach balance and coordination and require both sides of the body to work together. Stop. Turn left. Turn right. Go. Slow down. Speed up. Can you listen and follow directions?
Ball Sports. Soccer, basketball, baseball and football are not only good for coordination, but for improving eye-hand skills, eye-foot skills, focus, attention, cooperation, team play and commitment. To learn new moves, try yoga with a ball!
If you need visual ideas for encouraging coordination, check out our Pinterest boards too. Once you schedule a few minutes of coordination activities on a regular basis, you’ll be amazed at the impact on overall focus and attention.