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Play and hand skills - bilateral coordination

This the ability to carry out co-ordinated movements of the right and left sides of the body and to cross the mid-line of the body. Co-ordination of the two body sides is an important foundation for the development of many gross motor skills (whole body movement) and fine motor skills (use of two hands).

The child typically progresses from performing movements with both sides of the body at the same
time to each side of the body doing opposite movements at the same time, e.g. walking. The final
stage is where the child is able to do different movements with each side of the body at the same
time (e.g. cutting with scissors in one hand while holding the paper in the other).

Co-ordination of the two sides of the body is essential to hand use and the development of hand
dominance (right and left handed). Good co-ordination is an important foundation for writing with
pencils and cutting with scissors. Children learn to co-ordinate both sides of their body when they
manipulate toys such as threading beads and lego, and when they skip, gallop, clapping games or
riding a bike.

These play strategies have been put together to improve your child’s hand skills. They can be done in any order and should ideally be practised three times a week for 15 minutes: