Bilateral Coordination: what is it and why is it important?

Bilateral Coordination

What is it?

Bilateral coordination refers to moving both sides of the body together, in intentional and accurate ways. It is a good indicator that both sides of the brain are communicating and charing information effectively. Bilateral coordination can be:

  • Symmetrical: coordinating both sides of the body to do the same movement (such as rolling or catching a ball.)
  • Reciprocal: moving two limbs in opposite directions (such as crawling or riding a bike.)
  • Asymmetrical: using both hands, but each hand is doing something different to complete one task (such as stringing beads or tying shoes.)

Why is it important?

We use bilateral coordination in so many everyday tasks, such as:

  • Giving a hug
  • Crawling or walking
  • Buttoning shirts and pants
  • Opening food and drink containers such as a ziplock bag or a soda can
  • Putting toothpaste on a toothbrush
  • Climbing on a playground or tree
  • Cutting with scissors
  • Handwriting and typing
  • Using a fork and knife
  • Steering a car

Activities for Bilateral Coordination

There are SO many activities you can do to with your kids to work on bilateral coordination, but here are just two.

For younger kids, have them string cereal, like Fruit Loops or Cheerios, onto yarn to make a “snack necklace.” For older kids, teach them how to make a paper airplane! You can hear more from one of our COTA’s here.

Is your child struggling with bilateral coordination? Be sure to reach out to Project Play Therapy, or to your child’s occupational therapist!


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