These fun activities just might help strengthen you child's math, reading, and writing smarts — no device needed. 

Young Girl Playing Video Game Holding Controller
Credit: Samantha Sophia/Unsplash

So it’s Day 5 of holiday break and your kid’s screen time is out of control? Flip her focus! Kids with better hand-eye coordination score higher on basic academic skills, found a study in Psychological Science.

We went to expert Margaret Rice, a physical therapist and coauthor of Therapeutic Play Activities for Children, to give you some fun activity options that don't need a device and just might help strengthen her math, reading, and writing smarts.

Work on Aim.

Kids who could hit a target showed superior math, reading, and writing skills.

The Game: Hoop Toss

Hang a Hula-Hoop from a tree branch (or tape it to the top of a doorway if you’re inside), then swing it gently. Have your child try to toss a beanbag or a sock ball through the hoop from about 10 feet away. Younger kids can throw sock balls into either a stationary laundry basket or one that you move.

Perfect interceptive timing.

Interceptive timing is the ability to connect with a moving target while you are also in motion. Kids who aced this skill, researchers found, did noticeably better in math.

The Game: Movable Catch

Start by challenging your child to bump and catch a balloon while she’s walking. Once she gets the knack of it, she can practice this with a large ball and then increasingly smaller balls. Ramp up the game by asking her to run in zigzag patterns while you throw her a football.

Track a moving target.

Working on the skill of following a moving target with their eyes can help with reading, math, and writing.

The Game: Find the Shell

Place a small shell under one of three opaque cups in front of your child. Move the cups around while your child tries to keep an eye on which one contains the shell. Then, stop moving the cups and challenge him to pick the right one.

Parents Magazine