Children with good balance and eye-hand coordination will find it easier to progress to more complex sports. However, these fundamental movement skills are the least developed among pre-schoolers in Singapore.
“Many parents assume that just because children naturally develop the ability to walk and run, they will develop other motor skills such as kicking, jumping, throwing or catching a ball as they grow,” said Tan Yan Ling, founder of Growth Mentors and former representative of Singapore’s national bowling team.
Research shows otherwise.
Pre-schoolers need instruction, either through structured or non-structured physical activities to develop a more holistic set of gross and fine motor skills. Growth Mentors believe in using sports as a vehicle to achieve mastery of various motor skills such as balance and coordination.
Sports for kids for better balance and coordination
Balance is the ability to control a particular body position while performing a task. Standing on one foot and riding a bicycle are motor skills that require good balance. The average five-year-old can balance on one foot for eight to 10 seconds.
Eye-hand coordination is the ability to use vision to process information and guide one’s hand movements. By age five, they should be able to button up, throw and kick a ball at a target.
For better balance and coordination, get your child to try these three sports for kids:
Image source: iStock
For golf-loving parents, getting their pre-schoolers interested in the sport is a great incentive for including it as a family activity.
Exploration rather than formal instruction is key to making the sport fun and enjoyable for children aged three to five.
Let your child enjoy learning how to swing the golf club and hit the golf balls towards a target. Let them have fun hitting the golf balls into the water, ride a golf cart or play miniature golf. Formal lessons usually begin at four.
Motor skills: balancing, swinging, targeting, object control, eye-hand coordination
Most children enjoy running and soccer is one sport that helps them develop speed, agility and stamina.
Pre-schoolers improve their balance and eye-foot coordination by learning how to dribble and run with a ball, kick a ball back and forth, or shoot it at a target such as a goal post.
Motor skills: running, dribbling, kicking, throwing, balancing, object control, eye-foot coordination
Image source: iStock
Bowling is a safe and fun sport for all ages which allows parents to participate with their pre-schoolers.
Watch how children jump up and down at the sight of falling pins. They particularly enjoy the adrenalin rush of knocking down pins which add to the family fun and provide an opportunity to develop their gross motor skills.
Through active play, practice and repetition, they will develop better balance and eye, hand and leg coordination, targeting and rolling skills.
Motor skills: balancing, targeting, rolling a ball, eye-hand coordination, object manipulative skills
Improvement on social skills
Besides motor skills, organised sports activities can help the awkward pre-schooler become more sociable and self-confident.
“We had a very shy 4-year old in our programme. He would hide behind his mother in front of strangers. His successes in class and social interactions with his peers and coaches helped him to open up. He is happier and more sociable now. This will benefit his development in the long run,” said Yan Ling.