Crossing the Midline is the ability to move hand, foot, or eye into the space of the other hand, foot or eye; to reach across the middle of the body with the arms and legs crossing over to the opposite side. Examples include being able to draw a horizontal line across a page without having to switch hands in the middle or sitting cross-legged on the floor.
By the age of 3 or 4 years old, a child should have mastered this bilateral skill (using both sides of the body together). However, some children may experience poor mid-line crossing skills and thus will affect how your child reads (tracking with the eye from left to right) and writes (using their dominate hand across the writing page).
If your child is experiencing poor crossing midline skills, here are 10 activities that you can do to develop crossing midline skills in your children:
- Playing cars on a large path – draw a line on a large piece of paper or make a large path on the floor with blocks for your child to drive their toy cars. Put lots of turns in the path. Encourage your child to just use one hand to drive the car.
- Use large (adult size) paint brushes and/or rollers and let your child paint the sides of the house with water. Encourage using one hand at a time.
- Play flashlight tag
- Wash the car – encourage your child to use his/her dominant hand and reach in all directions.
- Practice windmills or cross crawls (hand to opposite foot or hand to opposite knee).
- Wiping the table with one hand (put a light coat of shaving cream all over the table and have your child wipe it off with a wet cloth).
- Practice step and throwing with a water balloon!
- Draw a large figure eight (the number eight facing side to side, not top to bottom) with sidewalk chalk for your child and have them walk the figure eight OR draw the infinity sign and have your child trace it with their finger of their dominant hand.
- Set up squirt gun target practice. Use both hands on the squirt gun to try and knock over cups, wash away chalk etc.
- Water flowers with the garden hose using two hands.
These activities are fun for your preschooler even if you they aren’t demonstrating poor crossing midline skills!