Visual motor skills (and visual motor integration) are needed for coordinating the hands, legs, and the rest of the body’s movements with what the eyes perceive. Visual motor skills are essential to coordinated and efficient use of the hands and eyes. Visual motor integration is a skill we require for functioning. There is more that plays into the integration of visual motor skills into what we do and how we use our hands in activities.
Visual Motor Skills enable an individual to process information around them. The ability to observe, recognize, and use visual information about forms, shapes, figures, and objects makes up our visual motor abilities. Visual motor skills include a coordination of visual information that is perceived and processed with motor skills, including fine motor, gross motor, and sensory motor. Visual motor skills are made up of several areas:
1. Visual Processing Skills- These skills include how the eyes move and collect information. These are visual skills that take in and use the information in order to process that input. Visual skills include visual tracking, convergence, saccades, visual fixation, and visual attention. A component of visual processing includes visual efficiency.
2. Visual Perceptual Skills- Visual perception is our ability to make sense of what we see. Visual perceptual skills are essential for everything from navigating our world to reading, writing, and manipulating items. Visual perception is made up of a complex combination of various skills. Visual perceptual skills include visual memory, visual closure, form constancy, visual spatial relations, visual discrimination, visual attention, visual sequential memory, and visual figure ground.
3. Eye-Hand Coordination- Using the visual input effectively and efficiently with the hands allows us to manipulate and manage objects and items. This coordinated motor skill requires fine motor skill development. These motor skills allow us to collect visual information and use it in a motor action. Eye-hand coordination requires fine motor dexterity, strength, shoulder stability, core stability, etc. Examples of eye-hand coordination include catching a ball, manipulating pegs into a pegboard, lacing a lacing card, etc. Visual motor skills both require and utilize eye-hand coordination; however the overarching visual motor skills utilize additional components and are a higher level skill.
1. Hidden pictures games in books such as “Where’s Wally”.
2. Picture drawing: Practice completing partially drawn pictures.
3. Dot-to-dot worksheets or puzzles.
4. Memory games: Playing games such as Memory.
5. Sensory activities: Use bendable things such as pipe cleaners to form letters and shapes
6. Construction-type activities such as Duplo, Lego or other building blocks.
7. String colorful beads, macaroni, or cereal.
8. Games that encourage diagonal awareness help with drawing out this challenging skill. These games include tic-tac-toe, Connect Four, checkers, and Chinese checkers.
9. Use lacing cards, geo boards, and Sketch boards.
10. Construct simple to more complex origami figures.
11. Play flashlight tag by shining a flashlight on a wall and moving it up and down, left and right, and so on. Have the child follow your pattern.