Bilateral coordination means using both sides of the body together in a controlled manner. An example of bilateral coordination in everyday life would be stabilizing the paper with one hand while writing with the opposite hand. If a child struggles with bilateral coordination, it may cause everyday tasks such as writing, tying shoes, riding a bike or jumping rope. There are several different bilateral coordination activities that you can work on to promote these skills.
Bilateral Coordination Activity Ideas
Bilateral coordination can be broken down into three different categories including symmetrical, alternating, and dominant/non-dominant hand. There are several different ways to work on bilateral coordination. Below are some ideas to get you started!
Seated Bilateral Coordination Activities
The following ideas can work on bilateral coordination while seated.
Alternating opposites in seated. March up one leg while elevating the opposite arm. Repeat on the opposite side.
The following is the same idea, except now an added piece of midline crossing is happening by bringing the elbow towards the opposite knee. See even more crossing the midline exercises and activities from Pink Oatmeal.
Standing Bilateral Coordination Activities
Bilateral coordination can also be worked in while in standing. The following activities work on bilateral coordination while standing.
Scissor Steps – This activity involves lifting one arm forward while stepping back with the opposite leg. This is repeated on the opposite side resulting in a scissors motion.
Alternating Opposites in Standing – Slightly less challenging than the scissor steps is alternating opposites in standing. This activity involves lifting one arm while lifting the opposite leg. This also adds in a balance challenge component.
Bilateral Coordination In Quadruped
The following videos are ideas for working on bilateral coordination while in quadruped.
Wall Stickers – This can easily be changed up with different stickers to fit a theme, season or holiday. The dominant hand is placing the stickers, while the non-dominant hand is stabilizing on the ground.
Pom Pick Up – This game includes the dominant hand picking up poms while the non-dominant hand stabilizes. A midline crossing component could be added to this activity depending on bucket and pom placement.
More Bilateral Coordination Activities
Play Catch -This can be done with a ball or balloon. Make sure to catch with 2 hands.
Lacing Cards – Use one hand to stabilize the card, while the other hand does the lacing.
Crawling Games – This can be done is a variety of different ways including crawling through tunnels, uneven surfaces, or crawling along a line.
Riding A Bike or Trike – Pedaling provides the reciprocal, alternating movement to work on bilateral coordination.
Hand Clapping Games – My friends at The Inspired Treehouse of lots of great hand clapping game ideas.
Bilateral Coordination Task Cards
Pink Oatmeal has an amazing set of Bilateral Coordination Task Cards and Printables that you can add to your collection.
Digital Bilateral Coordination
Pink Oatmeal has a fun digital basketball themed bilateral coordination game you can play! This game can also be printed and used as printables.
Pick a number. This can be done in a variety of ways based on your child’s ability. One of my favorite number games is pick the score (higher/lower number game). For example, I would have the kid pick a number between 1-100. If they pick 30 I would say if it is higher/lower and so on.