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Ocular Motor: Best Ocular Motor Development Toys for Reading and Handwriting
This article provides recommendations for activities and toys that help a child’s ocular motor skills and visual planning. Affiliate links are included for your convenience. Integrated Learning Strategies (ILS) is a learning and academic center. As a reminder, ILS is not a health care provider and none of our materials or services provide a diagnosis or treatment of a specific condition or learning challenge you may see in your child or student. If you seek a diagnosis or treatment for your child or student, please contact a trained professional who can provide an evaluation of the child.
Developing your child’s ocular motor skills and visual tracking is critical for their reading and writing development. It could make a difference as your child begins to learn their letters for reading. Oftentimes children mix b for d and p for q as well as other letters. In addition, if your child’s ocular motor and visual skills aren’t developed properly they can struggle tracking words on the page, which can cause them to be poor readers. It also affects their handwriting as they must use both their eyes and hands to guide their hand across the page while they write their words. As we explore your child’s ocular motor development in future articles, we will discuss further why it is important and how it can impact your child’s learning in the classroom.
Ocular Motor and Visual Planning Activities
Incorporating toys and activities in your child’s routine is very important for your child’s ocular motor development. If they are severe enough, your child may need Vision Therapy, but it’s good to begin strengthening the eyes while they are young. What’s great about these toys and activities is that many of them encourage your child to use both eyes at the same time and then one at a time. This will help with eye dominance and strengthen one eye if it is weaker than the other. Here are some of our favorites to try in your home.
The Magnet Slot Maze is great for both your child’s ocular motor and hand-eye coordination. They must track the marble with their eyes through the maze and use their hands to guide the marble through the maze at the same time. The BoardSet and Pattern set gives your child the opportunity to visually track the pins with the card. It teaches them to match colors as well as shapes.
The Design Cubes with Patterns gives your child a chance to use their visual and ocular motor skills to match the shapes and colors while they manipulate the pieces to fit correctly on the card. The Bead and Thread activity provides your child with a combination of visual stimulation with fine motor development. They need to use their fingers, wrists and hands to thread the string through the beads. As they thread the beads, they must use their eyes to track it through each bead.
The Perplexus is great! It is 3D, which makes it more difficult for your child to track the marble through the maze. Your child could spend hours with this one toy while they improve their visual and ocular motor skills in addition to hand-eye coordination. The Skwish Stix are for younger children and toddlers. It gives them the chance to track the beads on the stix while also giving them something to chew on as they develop their oral sensory integration.
The Marble Run is a great way to get your child using their ocular motor skills as they watch and follow the marble down the track. This provides movement of the eyes that go from top to bottom instead of from side to side like the other toys above. Both top to bottom and right to left are important for tracking, directionality and reading. The Q-BA Maze allows your child to construct different shapes and animals. The can also stack the shapes from top to bottom, which strengthens the eyes and hands for handwriting.
Snowflakes Connect is also great for visual and fine motor development as they connect each snowflake together to make different objects. This activity requires a lot of concentration and problem solving to go along with ocular motor. Tricky Hands is also one of our favorites. Your child will place the rings around their fingers and will switch the rings from finger to finger as you follow the instructions. This improves your child’s visual as well as their math skills.
The Bead Roller Coster also gives your child the chance to track the beads with their eyes on each track. This activity is great for visual planning as they track the beads top to bottom and side to side. The Figure 8 Train track is one of the best activities you can purchase for your child. Any activity that incorporates the figure 8 will give them the chance to strengthen their eyes, ocular motor, tracking for reading and hand-eye coordination.
Another great Wooden Maze to help your child track the marble through the maze from side to side. It is also fairly small so they can hold it easily in their hands and it is transportable on vacations and in a small handbag.
Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning challenges achieve academic success. Our services provide kids with non-traditional tutoring programs within the Davis County, Kaysville, Layton, Syracuse, Farmington, and Centerville areas. Areas to find Integrated Learning Strategies include: Reading tutors in Kaysville, Math tutors in Kaysville, Common Core Tutors in Kaysville, Tutors in Utah, Utah Tutoring Programs