Crossing midline is something that all of us do every day without even realizing it. You may not realize it because it is an integrated movement in our bodies from childhood. Today I am going to share 10 crossing midline exercises for kids.
I also have a free download of 20 crossing midline activity ideas for you at the end of this post.
What is Crossing Midline?
Crossing the midline is an important part of development in a child. They need it for reading, writing, and many other important school activities as well as play activities.
What is midline? If you were to draw a line down the middle of your body, starting at the head, that is your midline. Every time you cross that line with either side of your body, that is crossing the midline. Crossing midline is a skill that children can learn from infancy.
What Age Should a Child Cross Midline?
Crossing midline begins to emerge when a baby is 6-12 months old. You'll notice they start reaching for things across their body.
Crossing midline is a skill that takes a while to perfect, however. Typically between 8 and 9 years old is when you would expect a child to completely master crossing the midline for a variety of skills such as handwriting, reading, and many gross motor activities.
What does difficulty with crossing midline look like?
- Your child may actually “get stuck” in mid-reach and have to switch hands to continue
- They may compensate by moving their whole trunk to reach toward the opposite side.
Poor mid-line crossing will affect how your child reads (tracking with the eye from left to right) and writes (using their dominant hand across the writing page).
If your child is demonstrating poor crossing midline skills, or even if they aren't, here are 10 activities that you can do to encourage crossing midline skills in your children.
10 Crossing Midline Exercises for Kids
1 || PLAYING WITH 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.
2 || PAINTING WITH PAINTBRUSHES
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.
3 || PLAY FLASHLIGHT TAG
Have each child use their own flashlight, holding on to it with both hands. You can do this at nighttime either outside or in a dark room or gym. Whoever has the flashlight shown on them is frozen and must be untagged from their team member. Remember to not allow the flashlights to be directed at someone's eyes.
4 || WASH THE CAR
Encourage your child to use his/her dominant hand and reach in all directions.
5 || WASH THE WINDOWS
Using a spray bottle and towel, have your child wash the windows in your house or on a flat surface such as the table.
6 || WINDMILLS AND CROSS CRAWLS
These are specifically warm-up exercises that I always used in the classroom before seated work. For the windmills, have your child reach out to the side with their arms straight. Then pretend that they are a windmill by moving their arms in a circle while crossing across the middle of their body (refer to the picture at the top of this post).
For cross crawls, have your child march in place, then touch their opposite knee as it is at their waist. The right arm would touch the left knee and the left arm would touch the right knee as they are marching in place.
7 || 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.
8 || FIGURE 8 PATTERN
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.
9 || SET UP A SQUIRT GUN TARGET PRACTICE
Use both hands on the squirt gun to try and knock over cups, wash away chalk, etc.
10 || WATER THE GARDEN
Water the garden or flower beds/pots using both hands on the water hose.
- Crossing Midline Game
- Pom Pom Transfer Game
- Fall Fine Motor & Scooter Board Game
- Winter Themed Scooter Board Game
- Obstacle Course Relay
For more ideas for younger children, check out my other post with 10 crossing midline activity ideas for toddlers.
Get 20 Crossing Midline Activity Ideas in a Free Download
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Need More Gross Motor Activity Ideas?
Check out the OT Mom's Core Strengthening ebook, written by a fellow pediatric Occupational Therapist mama. Lots of great information and activity ideas for kids of all ages.
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