Balance & Co-ordination: Poi-fect Action

Bilateral Integration The Maori Way

Bilateral integration is the ability to smoothly and efficiently work the two sides of the body together. Engaging in activities that require and develop this skill, encourages better links between the two sides of the brain which can help improve not only co-ordination physically but organization and planning mentally.

We were introduced to the Poi in New Zealand a few years ago. Julia will never forget the utter look of concentration Lisa had as she spend a great deal of the weekend at the conference mastering the move we are going to teach you today.

Set Up & Game Play

To start learning, focus on twirling just one poi. Once that is rhythmic, practise with the other hand. Then try twirling them both at the same time.

Next you can try some tricks – keeping twirling while moving arms around – over head, out to the sides, kneeling down, standing on one foot…what else can you think of?

Now for the really tricky bit – this is definitely for older or more capable children with a high frustration tolerance!

Twirl the left hand poi clockwise and the right poi counter clockwise at the same speed. When you are ready move your hands together with the poi continuing to twirl. How long can you keep it going? Can you transfer one poi to the other hand, so you are now moving both together with the one hand in those opposite directions?



1. Try adding rhymes to work on literacy (metalinguistics).

2. Play a mental game such as “I Spy” at the same time.


Also Works On: Vision (perception; tracking) Eye-Hand Co-ordination; Proprioception (joint movement awareness/body awareness); Strength & Endurance; Problem Solving; with variations, Working Memory; Literacy


Activity Materials


You Will Need...

Make your own Poi. For this you will need:

  1. A pair of pantyhose that you can cut up (or knee highs),
  2. 2 cups (or handfuls) of cotton wool balls (or some old rolled up socks),
  3. Some elastic bands.

Cut the legs of the pantyhose off, stuff the toes with one cup of cotton wool each toe (or one rolled up sock). Tie off with a rubber band tightly to make a ball at the end of each leg. Then cut one leg about 5cm shorter than the other. Tie a knot at each end so that you have 2 separate Poi. Now you are ready to play!