child applying his knowledge of coordination on the playground

Coordination is the ability to develop patterns of movement efficiently integrating visual information with the movement of the limbs.1 This can be seen in the locomotive system of the body. It takes collaboration of the skeletal system, muscles, and the nervous system to make the smallest movement, and walking requires fifty-four muscles in the feet, legs, hips, and back working together to propel the walker forward.2

In children, coordination of motor skills develops as the child ages and experiences new activities. New skills for young children are locomotor, small motor, and stability, which all require coordination. Locomotor movements, such as, running, jumping, and climbing, and small motor skills, such as, throwing and catching, are mastered with physical development, experience, and practice through play.3 School-age children improve on these skills and show greater advancements in flexibility, balance, agility, and coordination.4

Balance and coordination are both involved in a child learning to ride a bicycle, kick a ball, and climb a tree. Simple games like playing tag and jumping rope help develop coordination and other motor skills. Children develop at different speeds, and there are many exercises that can be done to improve dexterity and coordination while a child plays. Hitting a baseball and putting a ball through a basketball hoop are skills that take practice.5

Playgrounds have always aided in improving children’s coordination. Pushing a spinning merry-go-round and swinging from an overhead ladder require practice to develop the coordination to accomplish the task. Mastering the challenges on the playground of running, climbing monkeybars, crawling through tubes, and brachiating on overhead apparatus encourage confidence in the child as well as promote improved motor skills.6

Many new innovations are being developed in playground manufacturing to introduce motion in the playground equipment. Moving walkways and uneven surfaces, spinning wheels, equipment with spring-like action, rock walls and nets, and other new designs produce opportunities for play while increasing agility, balance, coordination, and strength.7

Children with marked clumsiness and poor coordination find playing with other children difficult. Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is a childhood disorder that affects roughly 6% of all school-age children. Children with this disorder do not have the same motor coordination compared to other children of their same age. Training in motor skills and physical education are the best tools to help these children.8 Some studies have shown that children with this disorder are at a greater risk of being overweight. The unhealthy weight gain could be caused by the child’s reduced amount of physical activity.9

  • 1. Frost, Joe L., Pei-San Brown, John A. Sutterby, Candra D. Thornton. The Developmental Benefits of Playgrounds. Olney, MD: Association for Childhood Education International, 2004. p. 130.
  • 2. Yahya, Harun. “Co-ordination In Human Body” Ezine Articles. < > 29 July 2010.
  • 3. Op. cit., Frost, Brown, Sutterby, Thornton. p. 23-24.
  • 4. Frost, Joe L., Sue Wortham, Stuart Reifel. Play and Child Development. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 2001. p. 217.
  • 5. “Coordination Exercises for Kids.” < > 29 July 2010.
  • 6. Ibid.
  • 7. Xccent Play! < > 29 July 2010.
  • 8. Google Health. < > 29 July 2010.
  • 9. “Kids With Coordination Disorder More Likely To Be Overweight.” < > 29 July 2010.