Ever wonder what the easiest way to stimulate a little ones hand-eye coordination as well as their attention span? Well one of the best tricks is to get your child to do whatever you are busy doing! Try include them in your everyday chores as well as other household activities that they will enjoy. Recently our 4 and 2 yr olds helped squeeze a bucket of grapefruit and then we spent a whole morning freezing bananas to make banana ice-cream!
The activity involved them peeling the banana, throwing the skin in the rubbish bucket, dipping the banana in lemon juice and then placing it in the freezing tray. This required them to recall a method and a procedure, they had to focus for a length of time on one specific task and constantly use their hand-eye coordination. This was obviously developing their fine motor skills too. There was no pressure to join in or stay with the activity but they all enjoyed it so much. Some came and went while another say for about 45 minutes working in the task. It was a most enjoyable time for us all – and we now have banana ice-cream to look forward too!
You may not have stacks of bananas to peel and freeze but look at your day and see what routine tasks you perform and where your child could either help you or even do them for you. They love working alongside Mom and being of use. They also really enjoy doing “big people’s” activities rather than playing with plastic pretend toys in another room when they could be involved in the real deal. Let them wash dishes, just take out the knives and glassware, show them how to use a cloth properly and you’ll be amazed at their capability. Let them help you hang up washing on a smaller line or a clothes horse. They can help wipe tables, put dishes away and tidy cupboards. Even a 2 year old can carry their own clothes to their cupboard and learn to put them away.
All these activities are so vital to their fundamental development and coordination skills and yet so often we over look them. Before long they will be busy with school work and friends treasure these special times with your little helpers.