I often work with little kids who have cerebral palsy (hemiplegia, diplegia), peripheral nerve injuries, a stroke, or for whatever reason are stronger on one side of their body than the other. Below are some ideas for encouraging them to use both hands and/or feet:
1. Ribbon Dancers: long wands with ribbons on them. You can have the child carry one in each hand while you do the same, and then move the wands around imitating each other.
2. Zoom Ball: a ball that slides along two parallel strings with handle bars at each end. This activity takes two people, but is SO fun, because as one person closes their arms to catch the ball, the other has to open their arms to send the ball to the other side.
3. Rolling pin to roll out play-dough or cookie dough, then use cookie cutters
4. Mr. Potato Head: one hand is used to hold Mr. Potato while the other is used to insert the pieces
5. Imitating animals: bear crawl, dog, donkey kicks, slither like a snake
6. Scooter board: child lies on his tummy and propels self with both arms
7. Step in paint and walk across butcher paper to do feet art; could also do this with water out on the sidewalk, but of course this artwork will dry up from the sun
8. Obstacle course: climb up, crawl over or through things, jump forward or backward
9. Pushing objects such as large boxes or containers, laundry baskets, strollers
11. Yoga: kids yoga books and DVDs are usually easy to follow along
12. Songs with motions of the arms and legs: If You Are Happy & You Know It, Wheels on the Bus, Twinkle Little Star, Little Bunny FuFu
13. Roll cars with one in each hand. The cars that are to be shaken first are fun
There are so many more things that can be done to encourage using both arms and legs. Use your imagnination and you will be able to come up with so many more! Also, ask your child's physical and occupational therapist to give you some exercises and games to work on in between therapy sessions.