I am so excited to partner with The Little Gym to bring you this post today on crossing the midline activities for babies and young toddlers.
You know how sometimes you get focused on something and then all of a sudden you start seeing it everywhere? For example if you have just bought a small blue car, all of a sudden you notice small blue cars all over the place? Maybe it’s just me … that is always a strong possibility …
Anyways, a few weeks ago I wrote a post about Crossing the Midline activities for kids and why they are so important. And then, we went to our local The Little Gym for a class and I saw crossing the midline activities EVERYWHERE. There were so many fabulous activities and ideas that I did not include in my original post!
So, you see, I really had no choice but to write about that topic again – this time with the amazing ideas from The Little Gym and with a focus on the younger crowd — those sweet little babies and toddlers.
(This also meant that I got to go into a baby class at The Little Gym and came down with an incredible case of baby fever. Good grief those cheeks!)
You might recall from my original Crossing the Midline post that this term refers to crossing an arm or a leg from one side of the body to the other. For example using your right hand to reach across your body and itch your left shoulder.
This skill is such an important one to develop in children – and there are so many playful ways to help it develop even in the tiniest of tots. Why is this skill so important? Well, itching a scratch – clearly. But also for future reading and writing. When we write, our right (or left) hand flows from one side of the paper to the other, crossing the midline. When we read, our eyes track the print from the left to the right continuously.
A lot of time and practice is needed for the part of our brain (called the corpus collosum) to develop which is needed for this skill to become second nature.
Ready for some fun ideas to play with today? Here are some great ideas brought to you by The Little Gym:
1. Roll the Ball to one side.
This idea is so simple! Have your little one sit facing you and gently roll a ball to one side of your child. Your little one will cross the midline reaching to that side to grab the ball.
Using a big ball will encourage your child to grab it with two hands.
2. This Little Piggy
There are so many little stories we tell on our little ones hands – aren’t there? This Little Piggy, Around the Garden, 5 Green and Speckled Frogs … A great twist on these songs is to use your child’s toes AND their opposite hand. Encourage your little one to reach down her hand to her opposite foot and recite the verse with you.
3. Monkey Jumps
All three of my little ones LOVE doing Monkey Jumps. They are a staple in The Little Gym. Not only are they so much fun for little ones, they also encourage a proper foundation for future cartwheels and gymnastic skills. Not to mention that they (you guessed it) cross the midline.
These can be done just on the ground, or on a little mat or cushion. Have your little one stand tall, reach down to one side of his body with both hands, and then jump his feet over to the other side of his hands like a little monkey.
4. On the Bars
Now this activity is likely only one that can be done in The Little Gym, unless of course you happen to have a set of uneven bars in your home. Little ones swing on the bar forwards, reach with one hand to turn themselves so they swing back on the bar while also facing forwards. It sounds tricky but I witnessed a 2 year old do it completely on her own. Incredible! I never would have thought I could have predicted reading success from a toddler on the uneven bars!
I hope you found some of these ideas helpful. There are so many playful ways to encourage the development of crossing the midline.
I want to thank The Little Gym for working with me on this post. I’m sure you have heard here before how much we adore our local The Little Gym! It truly is an incredible place full of learning and confidence building. If you are interested in learning more, you can click here to view the map to see if you are lucky enough to have The Little Gym in your area. I hope so!
Thank you so much for reading friends. I hope you have a fabulous day!