What is bilateral coordination and why is it important for your child?

Bilateral motor coordination is our ability to integrate both sides of the brain to coordinate movement of both sides of the body at the same time or with alternating movements.

It plays a pivotal part in our daily tasks which require us using both sides of the body. This includes everyday things like running, playing sport, playing a guitar, using a knife and a fork, doing up buttons, hand-writing and playing with Lego.

What is crossing the Body’s Midline?

This goes hand in hand with your child’s bilateral motor coordination development, our body’s mid-line is an imaginary line down the centre of the body that divides the body into left and right. By reaching across the middle of the body with our arms and legs, we are able to cross the midline.

Activities such as sitting cross-legged on the floor, drawing a horizontal line across the page from left to right with the same hand (therefore crossing the middle of your body), or being able to build a puzzle with pieces using the dominant right hand when the puzzle is placed on the left-hand side of the body.

“Play is the highest form of research” – Albert Einstein

Here at OTFC our therapists help to engage your child in a range of sensory based activities and games requiring them to reach across their body using both sides at the same time, making alternating movements and so on.

During a session with one of our occupational therapists we may conduct activities that help to guide your child to balance on a swing and throw bean bags at a target across their body, gradually increasing the complexity of the activity to develop your child’s bilateral and postural control.

We provide the support your child needs to help to increase their ability to cross the midline and encourage the development of their bilateral motor coordination.

50 bilateral coordination activities you can set up at home for your child

But what can you be doing at home to support your child’s bilateral motor development?

We’ve developed 50 homework activities which will assist in developing bilateral motor coordination, along with your child’s ability to cross the midline of their body and coordinate both the left and right sides of their body together.

Indoor activities

  1. Playing with playdough or theraputty
  2. Cooking activities: mixing, measuring, sifting, kneading, rolling, cutting
  3. Drawing Lazy 8’s in shaving cream or paint
  4. Beading or threading
  5. Musical instruments: playing drums, piano, guitar
  6. Cutting with a pair of children’s safety scissors
  7. Drawing with textas: taking the lids on and off
  8. Hand and finger puppets
  9. Pretend play with tea-sets, dolls, dress ups, making a cubby house
  10. Board games: dealing cards, playing Connect 4 or Jenga
  11. Arts and craft activities: making cards, using stickers, bending pipe cleaners
  12. Dressing dolls or toys
  13. Building with blocks: Duplo, Lego and other constructive toys
  14. Gluing and pasting pictures on a collage
  15. Playing Simon Says or Hokey Pokey
  16. Playing active virtual-reality based video games such as Wii Fit or Xbox Kinectic
  17. Animal Walks: walking like a bear, crab, kangaroo, dog, chicken.
  18. 2D and 3D puzzles
  19. Guiding toy cars and trains along a figure 8 track
  20. Singing songs with actions such as ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’, ‘The Wheels on the Bus’, or ‘Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’
  21. Playing in a container of dried rice or beans: pouring, mixing or finding hidden toys
  22. Reading books: encouraging the child to hold the book, turn the pages and point to the pictures
  23. Do up zips on bags, clothes or pencil cases
  24. Water play or bath toys: pouring water into funnels, containers.
  25. Peel a banana or mandarin
  26. Holding containers while eating
  27. Open the toothpaste and squeeze onto the toothbrush
  28. Playing Twister
  29. Holding a container of bubble mixture and blowing bubbles
  30. Gym ball activities
  31. Indoor rock climbing
  32. Gymnastics
  33. Dance classes or online dance videos
  34. Yoga
  35. Tying shoelaces.

Outdoor activities

  1. Sand play: digging, pouring, mixing, building castles
  2. Trampoline games: scissor jumps, jumping on knees, etc
  3. Swimming
  4. Climbing on playground equipment: swinging, climbing a ladder or frame, steering a steering wheel
  5. Bat and ball games: totem tennis, baseball, cricket, table tennis
  6. Riding a tricycle, bike or scooter
  7. Riding on a scooterboard or skateboard
  8. Finger painting with both hands
  9. Gardening: watering with a hose or can, sweeping up leaves, planting
  10. Bowling or skittles
  11. Floor is lava obstacle courses: child must climb across equipment without touching the floor
  12. Crab soccer: kicking a ball whilst walking on all fours, bottom off the ground and tummy to the sky
  13. Star jumps
  14. Tug of war games
  15. Catching and throwing a frisbee.

Occupational Therapy For Children
, we’re putting the pieces together helping your family achieve their goals and dreams.

We’d love you to come visit us at OTFC

OTFC is a South Australian clinic-based service that is centrally located and services children and adolescents from birth through to 21 years of age both locally and nationally. Dedicated to providing a client focused approach where children and families feel validated in their concerns, supported in difficult times, encouraged to be proactive and inspired to facilitate change.


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