A key developmental bilateral skill for children is being able to move their left arm across their chest to their right side and visa versa (crossing the mid-line).
It is important for your child to develop their body awareness, knowing their left side from their right side, being able to locate the various points of the body and be aware of how they move and relate to each other.
Good bilateral coordination allows the body to move in an easy and well coordinated way, as both the left and right hand sides of the body are working in unison.
The three activities below assess these key areas. Following the assessment, if your child needs to improve any of these skills, click on the “Games to Improve Bilateral Coordination” button for further activities or look at the Physical Ability Activity Programs.
Simon Says (Left / Right Body Awareness)
Play a game of Simon says focusing on encouraging your child to think about using the left and then right side of the body.
Get them to put their left hand in the air, and then down and then do the same with the right hand.
See if your child can touch their left knee with their left hand
and then the same on their right side.
Can they do this easily?
Ball Skills (Coordination)
Use a medium sized soft ball.
Start by rolling the ball to your child.
Can they stop / catch the ball?
Can they roll the ball back to you fairly accurately?
If they have difficulty at this stage do not move to the throwing stage.
Throw the ball gently using an under arm throw.
Can they catch the ball?
Can they throw the ball back to you fairly accurately, preferably using an under arm throw?
Hands and Knees (Mid-line)
Ask your child to stand in front of you and to place their right hand on their left knee. Then ask them to place their left hand on their right knee. If necessary show them how to do this and then get them to try it on their own.
To vary the game you can ask them to raise the left knee as high as possible as the right hand comes across the body to touch the knee. Or get them to do this, but touching their toes not knees.
Can they do both sides easily?
Do they struggle with one side?