What is crossing the midline?
The ability to cross midline reflects the degree of bilateral integration development. Mature midline crossing patterns should be demonstrated by ages 4 – 6 years.
How do I know if my child is having problems with this?
Well there are a few observations you might frequently see such as:
If asked to draw a line across the paper your child will turn the paper so that there is no need to cross the midline.
Your child will begin writing with the dominant hand and upon reaching the centre of the body they will change the pencil to the other hand.
Your child may have difficulty visually scanning from the dominant to the non-dominant side - this may be evident when reading or copying from the blackboard.
What can I do to improve this skill?
Here are a few fun activities to try at home!
Place bracelets on each arm and encourage the child to remove them with the opposite hand
Wrap one arm loosely in toilet paper and encourage the child to remove the paper with the opposite hand
Place finger puppets on one hand so they can be removed with the opposite hand
When passing objects hold them initially at a distance so as to encourage reaching past the body’s midline to grasp them
Blue-tac pictures to the wall that have to be retrieved by reaching for them in different directions
Walk sideways along a line/rope/balance beam - crossing legs over each other
Cut out right and left feet shapes - place these to the child must cross his legs when walking on the shapes
Playing percussion instruments / cymbols / triangle / clapping hands etc
Bi-lateral activities: threading beads / folding paper / sewing cards / small wind-up toys / cutting and pasting
Side sitting on floor when doing fine motor activities so that one hand has to cross the body
Banging blocks together in midline
Draw large circles / horizontal figure 8 on the chalkboard without lifting the chalk and keeping the elbows as straight as possible
Sitting on the floor, draw a circle around you with chalk not changing hands and without turning your whole body around
Nesting cups – pulling apart and putting together
Streamer circles and other patterns (using a ruler or piece of wood and fix a long plastic streamer to it eg. can cut up garbage bags for this) - hold with both hands or one in each hand
Removing lids from containers
Simon says e.g. cross you legs / touch your left ear with your right hand / swing your arms side to side across the body.
Passing beanbags from one hand toe the other across the body - try to do this blindfolded
Planting seeds in the garden
Reach across the body - hitting a suspended ball with bat or hand eg. tennis ball in the toe of a stocking hung from the clothesline
Use cardboard tube as a bat, held with 2 hands, to hit thrown objects to either side of the body
Enjoy the activities!