Fine Motor Skills - Eye and Hand Coordination
Motor skills are somewhat different than eye and hand coordination but there are some similarities. The development of hand-eye coordination often parallels and/or compliments the development of gross and fine motor skills. There are some activities your baby can do to increase her coordination and develop her motor skills, such as:
- Try installing a Crib Gym: This will allow her to swat at the objects above her however it may be safest to remove this once your baby is able to sit up by herself.
- Different Types of Interaction: When your baby is below you, dangle some objects in front of her so that she has the chance to bat at them.
- Play with "Fun" objects: When your baby is at least four months old, let her grasp safe objects that have a fun feel to them - for example a rattle or a soft stuffed animal. This may make her want to come back for more or may even make her want to hold on.
- Puzzles: Get your baby started on jigsaw puzzles. Let her start off on small puzzles of 4-5 pieces. There are baby-styled puzzles available that have little handles on them for babies to grip. As she gets adjusted to the idea, start her off on puzzles of a higher level. Don't get very complicated puzzles for her as she may get frustrated if she can't do it and this could make her develop feelings of frustration.
- Plastic building blocks: These types of blocks allow babies to stack and build things that require balance and use a different set of hand/eye coordination skills and motor skills.
- Peg and hole toys: These are toys that are made of plastic and have holes fitted to plastic pegs for the baby to differentiate different shapes and also to develop motor skills and hand/eye coordination.
- Plastic "Donuts": Another popular toy for encouraging the development of motor skills is the graduated soft plastic donuts that fit on a plastic center pole. Your baby can stack these and will soon learn more about shapes, sizes and colors and how they relate to one another.
The list below illustrates a rough time line for milestones you can expect your baby to cross in the first year and a half:
1-3 Months - Baby's hand is curled into a fist that instinctively holds onto objects that are put into her palm. At two months the grasp is less reflexive and more Controlled. At three months, the palm is weakly open but with little strength to grip objects.
5 Months - Baby begins reaching for objects such as toys. Baby might briefly grasp and hold toys. Baby will enjoy sucking her own hands.
6 Months - Baby is beginning to follow objects with her eyes. Baby is sucking her feet and grasping objects between both hands.
7 Months - Baby is developing the ability to transfer objects from one hand to the other. Baby's finger-thumb grip develops and she can simultaneously grip objects in both hands.
8 Months - Baby keeps hands open and relaxed most of the time. Baby is starting to have the ability to pick up small foods, like Cheerios.
10 Months - Baby is able to release an object voluntarily. Gives toy to caregiver when asked. Baby should be able to hold more than one object in her hand.