Coordination Exercises for Kids

Did you know that coordination exercises for kids provide so many benefits for children especially at school?

Did you know that coordination exercises for kids provide so many benefits for children especially at school? Coordination exercises include physical activity where children practice visual motor skills and/or bilateral skills where they use both sides of the body together.  These types of skills are very important when it comes to completing everyday skills such as getting dressed, eating, running, playtime and participating in sports.

Types of Coordination Exercises for Kids

There are several different types of coordination exercises for kids.  Eye-hand coordination exercises include practicing skills such as throwing and catching a ball.  Visual-motor exercises such as completing a maze or tracing a path on paper are also a type of coordination exercise.  Eye-foot coordination exercises would include skills such as kicking a ball.  Then you can combine all of those skills when you practice a skill like throwing a ball up into the air and kicking the ball before it hits the ground (drop kick).

There are also bilateral coordination exercises.  These are skills that require children to use both sides of the body meaning left and right or top and bottom.  Children can complete bilateral coordination exercises on the same side of the body (symmetrical) or on different sides of the body at the same time (asymmetrical). An example of a symmetrical coordination exercise would be marching in place.  An asymmetrical exercise is a cross crawl.

What Does the Research Say About the Benefits of Coordination Exercises for Kids?

There is a substantial amount of research supporting coordination exercises for kids.  Read below to find out more:

  • There is a significant association between academic performance and body coordination (da Silva Pacheco et al, 2016).
  • Visual-motor coordination and visual selective attention, but not agility, may influence academic achievement and cognitive function (Fernandes et al, 2016).
  • 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 (Schmidt et al., 2015).
  • Overall motor skills of males with intellectual disabilities are below the competence expected of children and adolescents without disabilities (Pitetti et al, 2017).
  • Interceptive-timing ability can predict mathematical performance in primary school children. Sensorimotor systems and cognitive abilities are intrinsically linked (Giles et al, 2018).

How Can You Help Children Improve Their Coordination Skills?

The answer to this question is quite simple – practice, practice, practice and playtime!  Children will oftentimes naturally develop these skills during playtime with balls of various sizes, hula hoops, and jump ropes.  Having free playtime with these types of equipment available helps to develop coordination skills.

Some children may need additional support to develop age-appropriate eye-hand, eye-foot, and bilateral coordination skills.  Pediatric Occupational and Physical Therapists can evaluate children to help determine exactly which skills need improvement and can recommend specific coordination exercises for children.

Resources that Provide Coordination Exercises for Kids

Exercises for the Classroom and Home is a set of 5 posters to encourage simple fitness activities for students.

25+ Bilateral Coordination Exercises – Download of 28 bilateral coordination exercise sheets including QR codes with links to video demonstration of exercises. Also includes hand out explaining bilateral coordination.

Teaching Catching, Throwing and Kicking Skills

Teaching Catching, Throwing, and Kicking Skills –  Help children learn how to catch, throw and kick with this digital packet full of information of age progression of skills, visual picture cards, tips, letter to parents and more!

References:

da Silva Pacheco, S. C., Gabbard, C., Ries, L. G. K., & Bobbio, T. G. (2016). Interlimb coordination and academic performance in elementary school children. Pediatrics international58(10), 967-973.

Fernandes, V. R., Ribeiro, M. L. S., Melo, T., de Tarso Maciel-Pinheiro, P., Guimarães, T. T., Araújo, N. B., … & Deslandes, A. C. (2016). Motor coordination correlates with academic achievement and cognitive function in children. Frontiers in psychology, 7.

Giles, O. T., Shire, K. A., Hill, L. J., Mushtaq, F., Waterman, A., Holt, R., … & Mon-Williams, M. (2018). Hitting the target: Mathematical attainment in children is related to interceptive timing ability. Psychological Science.

Pitetti, K., Miller, R. A., & Loovis, M. (2017). Balance and Coordination Capacities of Male Children and Adolescents With Intellectual Disability. Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly, 34(1), 1-18.

Schmidt, M., Egger, F., & Conzelmann, A. (2015). Delayed positive effects of an acute bout of coordinative exercise on children’s attention. Perceptual and motor skills121(2), 431-446.

Did you know that coordination exercises for kids provide so many benefits for children especially at school?