Balance & Coordination

Fine motor development

What is it?

Balance and coordination work hand in hand. Balance is the ability to maintain a controlled body position while performing tasks or activities. Children need the ability to maintain controlled positions during both static (still) and dynamic (moving) activities.

Static Balance is being able to hold a certain position without moving.

Dynamic Balance is the ability to remain balanced while engaged in movement.

Bilateral Coordination is the ability to use both sides of the body at the same time in a controlled way. Bilateral coordination also includes using one hand to support the other hand while it carries out more skilled work. Children usually learn to coordinate the use of their arms before the use of their legs.

Laterality is the awareness of the left and right sides of the body and the knowledge that they differ from each other. It is a not a skill that is learnt, but an inner awareness that the child develops within himself.

Examples:

STATIC

  • musical statues
  • standing still on one leg
  • remaining still while aiming
  • sitting upright
  • kneeling
  • sitting on a chair

DYNAMIC

  • hopscotch
  • balancing over beams
  • imitations of animals
  • wheelbarrow walking
  • jumping on a trampoline
  • riding a bike or scooter

Why is it important?

It is essential for children to acquire a good sense of balance as it is crucial for competence in physical skills. Balance is the foundation for a healthy life filled with movement.

Having good balancing skills will increase children’s confidence in gross motor activities (e.g. playing on the playground, running, jumping), increase their ability and confidence to engage in physical activities, and promote fine motor skills (e.g. writing, drawing and cutting) because a strong core stability, equips children with a strong base to support the use of their arms and hands.

Assessment

Balance and coordination challenges include:

  • falling easy
  • frequent tripping
  • inability to quickly ‘recover’ from being off balance
  • floppy or overly stiff movements
  • avoiding physical activity
  • delay in reaching developmental milestones (e.g. crawling and walking)
  • delay in acquiring physical skills (e.g. climbing, throwing, catching, kicking, riding a bike)
  • less skilled than peers in group activities
  • fear of new physical games (e.g. swings)
  • scared of heights that don’t frighten peers

Here is our Ages and Stages Gross-Motor Development Chart that you can view and/or print.

Please note that the chart is based on averages and is to be used as a guideline only.