Crossing the body’s midline (an imaginary line down the centre of the body) is the movements of the arms and legs as they cross over from one side of the body to the other, also known as cross lateral movements. This is an important developmental skill needed for everyday tasks later in life, such as writing, using a bat and ball and reaching towards your foot to put on socks and shoes.
Below you will find a selection of experiences suitable for children aged 3-5.
Support your child with their cross lateral movements as they take part in this exercise.
Ensure your child has enough space around them as they take part in this experience.
What to do
Within a space, role model to your child how to stand shoulder width apart with your arms by you side. Then slowly bend your right knee, as you lunge down towards the floor keeping your left leg straight. Use your hands to pretend to pick a vegetable from the ground, as you then straighten your right leg, returning to your standing position. Pretend to place the vegetable into a basket in front of you. Repeat this on your left side.
Invite your child to join in as they copy your actions. Encourage your child to think of different vegetables they could pick from the ground!
As your child completes cross lateral movements within this experience (arm and leg movements that cross over from one side of the body to the other), this helps to develop their balance and core strength.
Promote your child's cross lateral movements as they take part in this experience.
Ensure you and your child have a clear space to complete this experience.
What to do
Invite your child to find a space to stand in. Show them how you can march on the spot by lifting up your knees one at a time. As you do this, take one of your elbows to your knee. For example when you lift your left knee take your right elbow to the knee and when you lift your right knee take your left elbow to the knee.
Invite your child to have a go. Once they are confident with this, see if they can march around as they complete these actions, rather than marching on the spot. You could also see if they can march slowly, then seeing if they can march quickly!
This experience supports reciprocal bilateral coordination, which involves moving both sides of the body at the same time in opposite motions.
Symmetrical air drawing
Promote your child's coordination and cross lateral movements as they take part in this experience.
Ensure your child has enough room around them as they take part in this experience.
What to do
Within a space, hold your arms out in front of you whilst pointing your index finger on both hands. Draw a pattern or shape in the air, ensuring your fingers and hands are moving in the same direction and completing the same actions.
Encourage your child to copy your actions as they make symmetrical shapes or patterns in the air using both fingers. Encourage your child to think of shapes or patterns they could draw in the air for you to copy!
Your child is crossing their mid-line during this experience as they create patterns in the air with their fingers. This experience encourages your child to activate their eyes which assists with reading.
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