Bilateral Integration Activity Draw a Clover!

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This bilateral integration activity is a powerful way to help kids with a variety of skills. Add it to your line up of hands-on, St. Patrick’s Day theme activities for therapy and promoting child development. Kids can draw the four leaf clover but also work on developing bilateral coordination, eye-hand coordination, visual motor integration, visual scanning, visual convergence, core strength, and so much more. Integrating all of these areas into functional tasks involves many components of development, and this activity can help in so many ways.


Kiddos with sensory or developmental problems might have trouble crossing mid-line.  You might know a child who has trouble making both hands work together to accomplish a task like handwriting, cutting with scissors, tying shoes, buttoning a shirt, or catching a ball.  Bilateral coordination is necessary for many functional activities! 

 

Bilateral Integration and Functional Activities

 

 

Bilateral coordination activity with a clover theme works on visual motor coordination, kinesthetic sense, peripheral vision for improved gross motor and fine motor bilateral activities.




Bilateral integration is an area of child development that involves different movements and systems. Coordination of visual systems include visual tracking and scanning as well as depth perception and peripheral vision. All of these skills need to be integrated into movement so that coordinated movement patterns can occur.

Then, there is the crossing midline component. Crossing the midline occurs developmentally, and this milestone is an important one that translates to laterality and coordinated use of both hands together in functional tasks.

Then, visual motor integration, where the eyes and body works together to perform daily tasks is another piece of the puzzle. One part of the developmental progression of these skill areas is symmetrical bilateral integration.

Symmetrical Bilateral Integration

In this stage of development, children bring their hands together at the midline. You’ll see this in small infants that bring their hands to their mouth. They then start to hold toys together with their hands. Later down the road, symmetrical bilateral integration skills are needed to clap, zipper and button a coat, and gross motor tasks, too such as hopping, jumping, and completing tasks like jumping jacks. 

Progression beyond symmetrical development relies on this developmental stage. And skills like asymmetrical bilateral integration, crossing the midline are founded on progression of this early developmental stage.

Gross motor and fine motor activities are needed for activities where each hand does the same job (jumping jacks, movement games like the Hokey Pokey, and pulling up pants).  Other tasks require both hands to do different jobs in a coordinated way (holding the paper and writing with a pencil, holding paper and cutting with scissors, tying shoes, fastening a zipper, weaving a loom, or putting on a coat).

Bilateral Integration Activity for Kids 

 
This activity is one that’s been on my mind for a while.  As an OT, I’ve done versions of this activity many times with kids who have trouble with kinesthetic sense, visual perceptual skills, and bilateral coordination.  
 
This post contains affiliate links.
 
This activity is a version of the Brain Gym program, which uses whole body movements to improve skills, including learning and functional tasks.  Brain Gym can be just one tool in a toolbox of strategies to progress development of skills that kids need to function. 
 
In Brain Gym, there is an activity called Double Doodles, which involves doodling with both hands, with a piece of crayon or chalk in each hand.  
 
The activity encourages children to use both hands together.  The point of the activity is to establish direction and orientation relative to the child’s body.  The movement activity addresses hand-eye coordination in different visual fields, promotes spatial awareness and visual discrimination, addresses left and right awareness, improves peripheral vision, promotes body awareness and coordination with specialization of the hands and eyes, and works on gross motor movement skills.
 
Brain Gym is just one way to promote whole body learning through simple and fun movement activities. 
 

Four Leaf Clover Bilateral Activity

                    Bilateral coordination activity with a clover theme works on visual motor coordination, kinesthetic sense, peripheral vision for improved gross motor and fine motor bilateral activities.

In our gross motor bilateral coordination activity, we’re using visual motor integration.  While creating a four leaf clover shape, the child is using his visual sense to guides movement through peripheral vision.  
 
This is an easy activity to set up.  Tape a large piece of paper to the wall.  Poster board (like we used) works great, but that can get pricey.  A nice option is using a large roll of paper like easel paper or butcher paper.  You can also perform this activity at a large chalkboard or dry erase board in classroom settings. 
 
First, draw a large and symmetrical four leaf clover shape on the paper.  Provide the child with a crayon, pencil, marker or chalk for each hand.
 
Standing in front of the clover, ask them to stare at the center of the paper.  You can draw a dot for them to look at, if needed.
 
Then, show them how to start both hands at the top center of the clover and to slowly trace the lines of the clover to meet at the bottom center.  
 
We included a stem on our clover, but you can just draw the four leaves.  
 
Tell the child to not worry too much about staying right on the lines.  The object is to have both hands move together doing symmetrical motions.  Repeat the lines again and again.  Add colored crayons/markers/pencils to create a rainbow four leaf clover. 
 
A few things to watch for: 
  • While drawing, watch the child for stiffness in the hand, wrist, or arm.  
  • Be aware of whole body movements. Arm motions should come from the shoulders.
  • Remind the child to keep their eyes fixed on the dot at the center of the clover.
  • Remind the child to keep the writing utensils in contact with the paper.  They shouldn’t lift the crayons at all.
  • Watch for bilateral coordination, ensuring that both arms are moving at the same speed, distance, and positioning.
Other ways to extend this activity:
  • Draw the four leaf clover on paper and have the child sit to perform the re-tracing activity.
  • Do this activity on a driveway or sidewalk using chalk.
  • Draw in the air with pointer fingers.
  • Draw in a sand table.
  • Use finger paints.
  • Use ribbon sticks in the air.
  • Use musical instruments like bells or maracas.
Bilateral coordination activity with a clover theme works on visual motor coordination, kinesthetic sense, peripheral vision for improved gross motor and fine motor bilateral activities.
 

 

Colors Handwriting Kit

Rainbow Handwriting Kit– This resource pack includes handwriting sheets, write the room cards, color worksheets, visual motor activities, and so much more. The handwriting kit includes:

  • Write the Room, Color Names: Lowercase Letters
  • Write the Room, Color Names: Uppercase Letters
  • Write the Room, Color Names: Cursive Writing
  • Copy/Draw/Color/Cut Color Worksheets
  • Colors Roll & Write Page
  • Color Names Letter Size Puzzle Pages
  • Flip and Fill A-Z Letter Pages
  • Colors Pre-Writing Lines Pencil Control Mazes
  • This handwriting kit now includes a bonus pack of pencil control worksheets, 1-10 fine motor clip cards, visual discrimination maze for directionality, handwriting sheets, and working memory/direction following sheet! Valued at $5, this bonus kit triples the goal areas you can work on in each therapy session or home program.

Click here to get your copy of the Colors Handwriting Kit.

Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

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