One of the most important gross motor skills a child needs to develop is crossing the midline. This is the ability to use both sides of the body together, specifically by crossing a body part from one side of the body into the space of the other side of the body, such as using the right hand to scratch the left elbow.
Crossing the midline is important not just for overall coordination but also because it builds essential pathways in the brain. So strengthening this skill is not only crucial if you want your child to play sports but also to help him build fine motor skills such as writing. Indeed, it first came to my attention when my kindergartener’s adviser suggested it as a way to help him with his handwriting.
Below are great resources about crossing the midline (and why you should care).
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Gross Motor Skills: Crossing the Midline
Integrated Learning Strategies: Why Crossing the Midline Activities Helped This Child Listen to His Teacher: Great visuals in this article. I love that for each activity it includes an explanation of what to watch for to make sure the child is getting the full benefit.
School Sparks: Gross Motor Development: An overview of gross motor development and bilateral integration, including crossing the midline, with tips and why it is important for reading and writing.
The Inspired Treehouse: Developmental Skills – Crossing the Midline: An explanation of what crossing the midline is, why it’s important, and fun ways to encourage it.
OT Mom Learning Activities: Crossing the Midline: Overview from an occupational therapist, including photos and links to activities
Mosswood Connections: Crossing Midline: Activities to help kids cross the midline
From Growing Hands-On Kids:
- 10 Crossing the Midline Activities for Toddlers
- Pre-Writing Activities: Crossing the Midline: It’s a crossing the midline parade!
- 10 Crossing Midline Exercises for Kids
North Shore Pediatric Therapy: Help Your Child Develop the “Crossing the Midline Skill”: Long list of left brain/right brain “teasers”‘
My Mundane and Miraculous Life has a number of articles on creative activities for sensory therapy which include crossing the midline exercises:
- More Ways to Use an Exercise Ball for Sensory Therapy
- 4 Ways to Play with a Wiggle Seat
- Obstacle Course for Sensory Input
From The Jenny Evolution: Sensory activities that are also great for crossing the midline:
For more gross motor activitites, follow my Gross Motor Pinterest board: