The Ultimate Guide to Bilateral Coordination Skills

Ultimate Guide to Bilateral Coordination Skills

The Ultimate Guide to Bilateral Coordination Skills

Bilateral coordination is the ability to use the right and left sides of the body together at the same time or with alternating movements. For example, when you push a stroller or pick up a large object you are using your right and left sides of the body together with the same movements. Another example of bilateral coordination is tying your shoes – you are using your right and left sides of the body together but they are not both doing the same movements.

The ability to coordinate both sides of the body together is an important skill for many motor skills. Gross motor skills such as walking, climbing stairs, running, skipping, hopscotch and jump rope all require bilateral coordination skills. Fine motor skills such as holding paper while cutting with scissors or lacing beads require the right and left sides of the body to work together. Many functional skills require both hands or both legs to work together such as buttoning, zipping, using a fork and knife, using a rolling pin and more. In addition, bilateral coordination helps to develop hand dominance (whether you are right or left-handed).

Here are the many different bilateral coordination activities, exercises, research, and resources that Your Therapy Source has provided over the years all compiled in one location. Think of it as the ultimate guide to bilateral coordination in children.  Click on each title to view the complete information on that topic.

Why Bilateral Coordination Skills Are Important

Bilateral Coordination and Academic Importance in Children: Research results indicated a significant association between academic performance and body coordination.

Motor Coordination and Academic Achievement: The researchers concluded that visual-motor coordination and visual selective attention, but not agility, may influence academic achievement and cognitive function.

Effects of Coordination Exercises on Attention Span:  Delayed attention span benefits from acute physical activity are important for the overall learning process because increased attention is a necessary component to achieve academic success.

Balance and Coordination of Boys with Intellectual Disabilities:  The researchers concluded that overall motor skills of males with ID are below the competence expected of children and adolescents without disabilities.

Bilateral Coordination Activities for Children

Here are 10 simple ideas to practice bilateral coordination skills in older children:

1.  Marching to music and clapping hands at the same time.

2.  Cross crawls – touch your right hand to your left knee and then the left hand to your right knee.  Repeat touching the opposite feet.

3.  Traditional jumping jacks

4.  Cross Country Jumping Jacks – place right arm and right leg forward jump and switch left arm and left leg forward.  Try opposite sides – place right arm and left leg forward jump and switch left arm and right leg forward.

5.  March in place sitting down while drawing circles in the air with both hands

6.  Try a task using both hands or both hands and feet at the same time – ie: dribbling a ball with both hands, kicking a ball and dribbling a ball.

7.  Play hopscotch – the skill of jumping feet apart and together requires coordination of both sides of the body

8.  Perform motor activities to the beat of a metronome

9.  Jumping activities – jumping rope, jump up and clap hands, jump up and touch your heels behind your bottom, jumping activities through a floor ladder, etc.

10.  Animal walks that use both sides of the body – ie: crab walk, bear walk and crawling

25 Bilateral Coordination Exercises

Need more bilateral coordination activity ideas?  Read these previous posts:

Visual Tracking and Bilateral Coordination Activity – all you need is a pool noodle and a marble.

5 Gross Motor and Coordination Activities Using Plastic Tablecloths – watch the video using plastic tablecloths from the dollar store.

Kid Balloon Boxing – video demo to encourage coordination and timing.

Fall Activities to Encourage Bilateral Coordination and Motor Planning:  Perfect for Halloween time or change the creatures for other times of the year.

Bilateral Math Facts – coordination plus math skills at the same time!

Lacing Activities – of course, lacing requires using both sides of the body.

10 Games to Practice Crossing Midline – Theses skills require that the right and left sides of the brain work together to create a motor action.

Right or Left Games – This digital packet helps children to practice right and left discrimination, bilateral coordination, fine motor skills, balance skills, body awareness, motor planning and visual-spatial skills.

10 Ways to Play Catch with a Friend – Add in eye-hand coordination with bilateral coordination skills!

Simon Says Exercise Ball Style – Add in bilateral coordination when you include a huge ball for a game of Simon Says.

5 Bilateral Activities for the Kitchen – Some easy chores for children to help with to encourage bilateral skills.

Cross Crawl Exercise Sheet – video demo and step by step directions for the Cross Crawl Exercise.

Simon Says Picture Cards – can you make your body look exactly like the children pictured?

Pool Noodle Stick – make this pool noodle stick and start practicing your bilateral coordination skills.

Rhythmic Motion – this combines rhythmic timing with bilateral coordination skills.

Steamrolling Sight Words – Bilateral coordination, strengthening and academic material in one activity (you will need a rolling pin).

Clap, Snap or Tap – Another great activity combining motor planning, timing, and coordination.

Move Like Me – This download includes action poses for children to practice motor planning, crossing midline, body awareness, timing, rhythm, coordination and physical activity.

“Foot” Ball – Watch the video for this challenging activity!

10 Everyday Activities to Practice Bilateral Integration – easy activities that can be carried out throughout the normal routine of the day.

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25+ Bilateral Coordination Exercises is a collection of bilateral coordination exercise sheets including QR codes with links to the video demonstration of exercises. A QR code is a black and white image with squares, that stores website links for reading by the camera on a smartphone.Each exercise page includes picture images and step by step directions of a whole body bilateral coordination exercise. Also included, is a link to a You Tube video with a demonstration of the exercise along with a slow motion video of the exercise. Parents, students or teachers can simply use a QR code reader app on their smart phone or tablet to go directly to the video demonstration.

These activities encourage bilateral coordination, motor timing, motor planning, muscle strengthening and balance skills.

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Ultimate Guide to Bilateral Coordination Skills