Bilateral is the term used to describe the ability to coordinate both sides of the body at the same time in a controlled and organised manner e.g. stabilising paper with one hand while using the other to write, draw or cut.
Good bilateral coordination helps with daily tasks such as dressing, tying shoes, buttoning a coat, drawing, writing, cutting and gross motor movements such as climbing stairs and riding a bike confidently.
The following activities are helpful suggestions for developing bilateral coordination:
- Bopping a balloon back and forth or popping bubbles with both hands
- Tearing/ crumpling tissue paper, cotton wool (create a craft, etc.)
- Connecting/ separating construction toys; magnetic blocks, Mega blocks, pop-beads, Legos
- Playing catch/ throw games to encourage coordinating both hands
- Dough disco- Pinching, pulling, squeezing, playdough (finding hidden objects, etc.); as well as using playdough tools
- Threading uncooked pasta on wool or beads on pipe cleaners/spaghetti
- Snipping/ cutting with scissors- wool, playdough, construction paper (thicker), junk mail etc.
Activities for developing body awareness:
- Playing the Hokey Pokey or “Simon Says:” have the child imitate body positions as well, “Simon Says do this…..” and include symmetric and asymmetric body poses
- Homemade obstacle courses
- Pushing/ pulling weighted objects: carrying grocery bags, laundry basket, taking out the trash, etc.
- Wheelbarrow walking, animal walking (bear walk, crab walk, snake crawling)
- Playing “Twister”