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CBPA (Coordinated-Bilateral Physical Activities) for Attention-Boosting at School

Updated: May 26, 2021

By Yuhan Yuan, CEI Intern

How important is it to stay focused for school-aged kids? It is widely known that children who are more focused

Why is it so difficult to stay focused? Students may be distracted by a wide array of things that could grab their

How could physical activities help with kids’ school performance? Physical activities appear to positively influence academic achievement (Donnelly & Lambourne, 2011). Everyday physical activities are also showing a positive influence on emotion-regulating (Stathopoulou, Powers, Berry, Smits & Otto, 2006). These activities help kids stay emotional stable, which could also contribute to better academic performance.

How could CBPA be applied to school teaching on a daily basis? Coordinated-bilateral physical activities do not require as much effort and energy as outdoor activities. A daily 6-minute CBPA could be planned during the break between classes. Teachers can assign kids to smaller groups, or pairs. Other events can also be added in during the CBPA. For example, kids can sing a song together during the CBPA. Moreover, rewards can be given to the group or pair who achieves the longest time of CBPA.

Some activity suggestions (Child’s Play Therapy Center, 2018): • Hokey Pokey or “Simon Says:” activities: have the child imitate body positions as well, “Simon Says do this...” and include symmetric and asymmetric body poses • Climbing activities can be held on the playground • Obstacle courses including controlling of both sides of the body, e.g. have obstacles that only allow kids to pass with one feet stand. • Playing on dynamic (moving) equipment and try to keep balance, e.g. balance board, swings • Wheelbarrow walking, animal walking (bear walk, crab walk, snake crawling)

Also, all activities are suggested to begin with easy level (slow movement) and progressively get harder (quick movement and more balancing abilities needed).


CHADD (n.d.) Relationships and social skills. CHADD Website.

Harris, H., B., Cortina, K., S., Templin, T., Colabianchi, N. & Chen, W. (2018), Impact of Coordinated-Bilateral Physical Activities on attention and concentration in school-aged children,” BioMed Research International, 2018, 1-7.

Stathopoulou, G., Powers, M., B., Berry, A., C., Smits, J., A. & Otto, M., W. (2006), Exercise interventions for mental Health: A quantitative and qualitative review. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 13: 179-193.

What is bilateral coordination and why is it important? (2014.08.06) Child’s Play Therapy Center.

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