Two Hands are Better than One!

Have you ever tried to buckle a shoe with one hand? It is very difficult. There are
many things we struggle with throughout the dayolding a baby or a bag of
groceries while attempting to open a container or answer the phone and jot down a
message. Eventually you get it done, but it is a lot harder and takes twice as long.

Early on we learn that using two hands is more efficient than using just one.
Even if you have a one handed backhand in tennis, proper strokes still require
specific movements from the non-­‐dominant hand.

Preschoolers need to learn this. For some, it comes naturally and by toddlerhood,
they are automatically clutching and manipulating toys with both hands. Some
children use a one handed approach and this causes trouble. These kids become
easily frustrated and often cruise between activities rather than focusing on one
since trying to play with toys using only one hand doesnt work and is not very
satisfying.

There are many important benefits to using two hands (Bilateral Motor
Coordination):

1. When the hands work as a “team jobs get done faster and better. This
includes drawing, dressing skills, and many large motor activities.
2. As both hands work together, one begins to specialize. This leads to
developing hand preference or dominance.
3. Using both sides of the body sends organizing information to the brain. The
many crossovers lead to better communication between the two sides of
the brain. This is called inter-­hemispheric communication, and is very
important for language development and higher-­‐level “conceptual” thinking.

Games you can play to encourage the development of Bilateral Motor Coordination:

Hand clapping sequencing games (simple for young children, more complex as they
grow)
Playing with large balls that require both hands
Exploring textured surfaces and objects with two hands
Shaving cream and finger painting with two hands
Simple musical instruments that require both hands (bongo drums, recorders,
keyboards)
Play dough and clay-­‐using both hands
Hand/song games like: Wheels on the Bus Itsy Bitsy Spider
(Ask the childrens librarian at your local public library for books that teach more
hand play games and songs.)

Daily Life Skills that encourage use of two hands:

Large sponge to wipe down tables
Drying self off with a towel using two hands
Kitchen activities such as peeling, grating, rolling and stirring
Fasteners such as buttons, zippers, tying shoes