Image by: Chris McClanahan

Throw Through The Tarp!

Age Range
3-7 yrs
Setup Time
5 minutes!
Setup Location

Hand Eye Coordination is the ability of the eyes to guide the hands in movements. Visual-motor integration, which is a vital skill for handwriting, grows out of a good hand-eye co-ordination base. The eyes need to guide the hand in forming the letters and making sure they stay within the lines.

Visual motor (eye-hand coordination) problems in children are often not discovered until a child is in elementary school. Problems with learning to write, draw simple pictures and use classroom tools may be the first signs that there is a problem. When visual motor problems are identified through testing, there is not necessarily a deficit in vision. That is, visual acuity and visual perception may be intact. There may not be a problem with motor control either. Strength, coordination and range of motion may be sufficient. Thus, the deficit is often in the mechanism that enables the visual and the motor systems to work together. In other words, the visual and motor systems are not communicating well with each other.

Eye tracking skills, which are vital for reading, can be developed through games and activities used for hand eye coordination. Young children use this skill in learning to stack towers, build with lego etc, and we even use hand eye coordination to tie shoelaces and frost cakes! Visual motor skills can be enhanced through lots of practice.

This activity of throwing a ball through a hole helps children focus and develop their eye tracking skills and integrating it with their motor skills.


  1. Hang a tarp between two trees and cut various shapes in it

  2. Have your child practice throwing a ball (smaller than the holes cut out) through different holes

  3. Based on the shape and distance of the holes from your child's position, he will practice a variety of throwing motions

  4. Encourage your child to continue his practice and make adjustments to the distance or ball size as needed, so as not to frustrate the child if he is not able to 'score' well

Disclaimer: This presents an overview of child development. It is important to keep in mind that the time frames presented are averages and some children may achieve various developmental milestones earlier or later than the average but still be within the normal range of development. This information is presented to help parents understand, at a high level, what to expect from their child. Any questions/concerns you may have about your child’s development should be shared with your doctor.