19 Oct What is bilateral coordination and why is it important for your child? 50 activities at home.
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.
- Playing with playdough or theraputty
- Cooking activities: mixing, measuring, sifting, kneading, rolling, cutting
- Drawing Lazy 8’s in shaving cream or paint
- Beading or threading
- Musical instruments: playing drums, piano, guitar
- Cutting with a pair of children’s safety scissors
- Drawing with textas: taking the lids on and off
- Hand and finger puppets
- Pretend play with tea-sets, dolls, dress ups, making a cubby house
- Board games: dealing cards, playing Connect 4 or Jenga
- Arts and craft activities: making cards, using stickers, bending pipe cleaners
- Dressing dolls or toys
- Building with blocks: Duplo, Lego and other constructive toys
- Gluing and pasting pictures on a collage
- Playing Simon Says or Hokey Pokey
- Playing active virtual-reality based video games such as Wii Fit or Xbox Kinectic
- Animal Walks: walking like a bear, crab, kangaroo, dog, chicken.
- 2D and 3D puzzles
- Guiding toy cars and trains along a figure 8 track
- Singing songs with actions such as ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’, ‘The Wheels on the Bus’, or ‘Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’
- Playing in a container of dried rice or beans: pouring, mixing or finding hidden toys
- Reading books: encouraging the child to hold the book, turn the pages and point to the pictures
- Do up zips on bags, clothes or pencil cases
- Water play or bath toys: pouring water into funnels, containers.
- Peel a banana or mandarin
- Holding containers while eating
- Open the toothpaste and squeeze onto the toothbrush
- Playing Twister
- Holding a container of bubble mixture and blowing bubbles
- Gym ball activities
- Indoor rock climbing
- Dance classes or online dance videos
- Tying shoelaces.
- Sand play: digging, pouring, mixing, building castles
- Trampoline games: scissor jumps, jumping on knees, etc
- Climbing on playground equipment: swinging, climbing a ladder or frame, steering a steering wheel
- Bat and ball games: totem tennis, baseball, cricket, table tennis
- Riding a tricycle, bike or scooter
- Riding on a scooterboard or skateboard
- Finger painting with both hands
- Gardening: watering with a hose or can, sweeping up leaves, planting
- Bowling or skittles
- Floor is lava obstacle courses: child must climb across equipment without touching the floor
- Crab soccer: kicking a ball whilst walking on all fours, bottom off the ground and tummy to the sky
- Star jumps
- Tug of war games
- 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 here at OTFC (hyperlink to contact us come visit page).
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.