Midline Crossing – What is It? Why is it Important? What can you do to Encourage it?

Midline Crossing

What is It? Why is it Important? What can You do to Encourage It?

What is Midline crossing?

Midline crossing is a developmental milestone that most child reach by the age of 4. It refers to a child’s ability to spontaneously reach across the imaginary midline or midsection of their body during play or “work time”. Once established, midline crossing is a good indicator that the both sides of the brain are well coordinated and communicating effectively with each other. Motorically, midline crossing involves: bilateral coordination, trunk rotation and adequate core strength. A deficit in any of these areas could cause a delay in the establishment of midline crossing.

Why is it Important?

Midline crossing is an important prerequisite, foundational skill necessary for the development of a variety of motor and cognitive learning tasks. Midline crossing is also an important step in the development of handedness . Once established, the child’s dominant hand, the “worker hand” to take over the major tasks, while the “helper hand” act as an assist. This allows the child’s dominant hand to get some much needed practice and skill refinement, which has a great impact on the child’s overall ability to complete fine motor tasks in an efficient and coordinated manner.

Activity Ideas to Promote Midline Crossing:

Bean Bag Toss!

Sitting “criss-cross” on the floor, have a child toss bean bags or koosh balls into a bucket positioned opposite side of the hand they are throwing with. Don’t allow hand switching but do practice crossing over both sides, giving each hand a turn and re-positioning the bucket to the opposite side.

Sensory Fun!

Engage in sensory play with shaving cream. Using a large tray or cookie sheet, have the child place one hand on top of the other while moving the shaving cream in all directions. This could also be done while helping Mom or Dad wash the car!

“Lazy 8’s”!

On a large sheet of paper or chalkboard, draw a large figure 8, positioned horizontally. Have the child trace the 8 with chalk, small crayon, a small wet sponge cube or even a race car, being sure to watch that they are crossing midline as they circle back and forth around the track.

Pop bubbles!

Stand in one spot and pop bubbles using only one hand. Try again and this time switch hands but use only one.
Ball Pass with a friend! Sit back to back with a friend, passing a ball back and forth to each other
Fun with Scooping! Position a small bowl of sand or dried beans to one side of child with an empty bowl on the opposite side. While seated, challenge them to transfer the beans from one bowl to another using a spoon or small cup, using only one hand at a time.

Flashlight fun!

Use a lit flashlight to trace shapes, lines and figure-8’s on a wall in a dimly lit room. Practice holding flashlight with one hand, then holding with both hands while you trace.


Language Activities Resource

If you’re looking for a good resource for speech and language development and activities, try http://www.speakingofspeech.com. This is a great website with information and materials for all areas of development including articulation, vocabulary, concepts, and pragmatics. It was originally created for and by speech and language pathologists who posted activities they had made. However, the activities and materials are very parent friendly. Just click on materials exchange and then click on the area you are interested in.  There are many fall-related activities and ideas available under the thematic units tab.  There is also a tab for various resource links that might be helpful.


Fall Gross Motor Activities

Fall is the perfect time to run outside and play and jump in the leaves.  Below are some links to fall gross motor activities that can be done both indoors or out.





Have fun and be creative!

Fall Speech/Language Ideas

There are many different ways to facilitate speech and language skills within your home this fall! See below for some great tips that you can easily do with your children at home!

•Having your child help set the table and get dressed in the morning to work on following directions

•Sorting big/medium/little apples or acorns

•For those children who like to help out at home, giving them instructions to help rake leaves/yard work such as “make a pile next to the tree” to facilitate spatial concepts and basic directions

•Playing basic turn taking games on a rainy day such as Candyland, Don’t Spill the Beans, and Chutes and Ladders to work on turn taking skills using language such as “my turn” and “your turn”

•Reading some autumn themed books such as Cliffords First Autumn, Little Red’s Autumn Adventure, Apples and Pumpkins, and Mouse’s First Fall and asking some basic questions about the story ex: “What he/she doing?”, “Where is he/she going?”, “Why is he/she ___?”