Coordination Exercises for Kids

Mother and Son Playing at Park
A child is playing on a playground. (Image: MIXA next/MIXA/Getty Images)

A child's physical coordination will ultimately have a bearing on his skill level in sports, academic performance and even attitudes about school and education, found a report by Lori A. Smith, president of the Illinois Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. That's why it is important for kids to have structured games and activities throughout the day that present coordination exercises. With your help, your child can work on developing coordination skills that can help him throughout his life.

Line Walk

Learning to walk in a straight line can help children learn about balance and walking with one foot in front of the other. It is an exercise used by the Hospital for Special Surgery for rehabilitation patients. You can use a balance beam, but for smaller children, head outside and draw a line along your driveway with sidewalk chalk. Challenge your child to walk along the line without falling off. When she masters it, draw a matching line parallel to the first, and challenge her to a race.

Beanbag Toss

Giving your child a target to hit with a beanbag makes for a fun learning activity and helps hone his coordination skills, notes DorBooks.com. Set up a variety of wastepaper baskets. Start with one fairly close, and place others farther away so it takes more coordination to throw the beanbag into the baskets. Have your child stand behind a line that you've made with masking tape, sidewalk chalk or a broomstick and challenge him to get the beanbag in each basket at least once.

Action Words

A simple game of "Simon Says" can get your child moving and learning new actions, but you can also play a game of action words that teaches your child to move quickly. Write a dozen or so action words on small pieces of paper, suggests the Sonoma State University Department of Kinesiology. Fold them all to the same size and dump them in a hat. With your child nearby, pull a word out of the hat and read it. Your child must then quickly do the action you read.

Obstacle Course

An obstacle course is an afternoon exercise to work on with your child to improve her coordination skills. Set up a course using pillows, blankets, boxes and activities that must be completed by the end of the course. Time her as she works her way through the course and do the course three times, encouraging her to beat her last time. Change the obstacle course a little each day to focus on different parts of her coordination, like throwing or kicking a ball, climbing over a pillow or doing a puzzle.

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