What is it? Using two or more body parts together (i.e. both hands) to manipulate, hold, and/or stabilize task objects without fumbling task objects or letting them slip from one’s grasp (AOTA, 2014, p. S25).

Why is it important? Bilateral coordination is a skill necessary for occupations across the lifetime such as: 

  • Bathing/showering/grooming (washing hair; squeezing soap/shampoo out of a container) 
  • Dressing (fastening buttons, zippers, snaps, laces; putting on and adjusting clothing/shoes) 
  • Feeding (cutting up food) 
  • Academic tasks and performance (writing, cutting, etc.) 
  • Play activities 
  • Driving (steering with the steering wheel, shifting gears, etc.) 
  • Housekeeping/cleaning 
  • Cooking (cutting food, placing pans into the oven, etc.) 
  • Job performance  
  • Leisure activities  

5 activities to try at home:

  Dr Laura Mraz and Bilaterial Coordination

1. Rolling out dough or play-doh with a rolling pin.  Tip: Have the child attempt to open the play-doh container by themselves and take it out! 

Dr Laura Mraz and Bilateral Coordination

2. Ripping tissue paper/newspaper and crumpling ripped pieces into small balls.   Tip: You can either turn the activity into a craft and glue the crumpled paper onto the craft or throw crumpled balls into containers/at targets. 

Dr Laura Mraz and Bilateral Coordination

3. Cutting activity.   Tip: Choose from free printables online or create your own craft!

  Dr Laura Mraz and Bilateral Coordination

4. Threading beads onto string  Tip: You can use uncooked pasta noodles that have a hole in the center if you do not have beads! 

Dr Laura Mraz and Bilateral Coordination

5. Clapping bubbles.  Tip: Blow bubbles and have the child clap both hands together to pop the bubbles.

References  American Occupational Therapy Association. (2014). Occupational therapy practice framework: Domain and process (3rd ed.). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68(Suppl. 1), S1-S48.

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