Crossing the midline is an important developmental skill that children need to establish in order to be able to do things such as writing, cutting, tying their shoelaces, playing sports, and much more. Therefore, it is a skill that primary teachers need to consider when planning activities for their little learners in their classrooms.
The best news? Crossing the midline activities can be incorporated into your school day very easily!
So, what exactly is the body’s midline? Well, it’s an imaginary line that goes between the left side and right side of the body.
A child that has established this skill will be able to cross a body part (eg. hand or foot) over to the other side of the body with ease. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But, for the little learners in your classroom who are still developing this skill, simple things such as tracing, cutting, or even beginning to write may get tricky.
Crossing the Midline Activities for Kids
Have you ever noticed a student rotating their paper completely horizontal so they can write from the top to the bottom? Or have you noticed students shifting their whole chair to write on the left-hand side of a worksheet while writing with their right hand? These students may be struggling to cross their midline and would benefit from some activities to help this skill develop more.
Tip: For a lot of the activities suggested in this blog, it’s essential that the children are sitting directly in front of the activity. This will ensure that they are actually crossing their midline. Make sure when the child is crossing their midline that their body is rotating while their legs and hips stay in the same forward position.
Here’s a list of 15 super easy activities you could use today to help your students with this important developmental skill.
(1) Whole-Class Ball Passing Relay
A ball passing relay is a super simple game that you can do with your students as a morning activity. Have students sit in a circle and pass a ball or an object around the circle with both hands. Without realizing it, students are crossing their midline in a fun whole-class game where everyone can be involved.
Why not set a timer and see how fast the class can go around the circle (without throwing the ball of course). Or, perhaps students count or say the alphabet as they go around the circle.
(2) Back-to-Back Passing
In this activity, two children sit back to back and pass the ball using both hands around their side to the other person and back around to the other side. Then, they can repeat. This is another great activity that can be paired with skip counting or counting back from a given number!
This simple idea that was sent into us by @allaboutearlyyears.
(3) Playing Clapping Games
Simple clapping games such as Patty Cake, Miss Mary Mack, or Double Double are fun ways that children can cross their midline.
Kids absolutely love learning these songs.
(4) Play Twister!
A teacher-directed game of twister can easily incorporate the consolidation of left and right knowledge as well as some great crossing the midline practice.
Don’t have Twister? That’s ok, a similar outcome can be achieved with colored dots positioned strategically on the classroom floor. Students are then directed to put their right hand on a colored dot that is on the left-hand side of their body.
(5) Clothesline Activity
In this activity, I used our 1-20 Clothesline Number Cards for a simple math, fine motor, ‘crossing the midline’ activity! Simply hang a piece of string up and have your students clip the shirts in numerical order.
Encourage them to stand in the middle of the string and reach over to the start of the string. You’ll notice they will need to cross over their right hand for the start of the string. Challenge them by getting them to pin the shirts on the right-hand side of the string with their left hand.
(6) Simple Stretching
A simple brain break in the classroom could be a great opportunity to get your students to cross their midline.
Simple stretching like reaching over to one foot with both hands and then doing the same on the other side is just one of the many stretches you can do with your students that encourages ‘crossing the midline’.
(7) Infinity Loop Tracing
Using the infinity loop is another great way to encourage children to cross their midline. Use a blackboard or dry erase board and draw an infinity loop for your students. Then provide them with a variety of different colored chalk or dry erase markers and get them to trace over your infinity loop again and again. This also works with a piece of paper and different colored crayons!
Tip: Make sure the student is standing directly in front of the blackboard/dry erase board or sitting directly in front of the piece of paper.
(8) Tracing Animals
Print out our Tracing Lines Sheets. For little hands, this means they’ll have to automatically ‘cross the midline’ if they start at the beginning of each line and continue to the other side of the animal. Why not print these on cardstock and slip them into dry erase sleeves so they can be used over and over again in a writing center!
Again, make sure the piece of paper is straight up and down (it may be worth taping it to the desk in this position). Also, ensure the student is directly in front of the paper.
(9) Long Strips of Tracing Lines
Similar to the above activity, this collection of Tracing Lines – Fine Motor Activity forces the students to cross their midline.
Encourage students to use their dominant hand for one strip, and then have them try with the other hand. They’ll notice their dominant hand is much easier for this activity.
Other resources that may encourage crossing the midline if placed directly in front of a student:
(10) Go Fishing Activity
This little ‘fishing’ set can be used for so many different activities.
By placing the sea animals on one side and the ‘water’ on the other side, students are encouraged to count the sea animals they catch. If set up correctly, students will be crossing their midline without even realizing it.
(11) PomPom Fine Motor Activity
Many fine motor activities, if set up strategically, can be a great opportunity to encourage students to cross their midline.
An example of this is a simple set up like the image below. Students just have to pick up one pompom at a time and place it in the other jar.
(12) Simon Says – “Cross that Midline”
‘Simon says’ is an active enjoyable way to introduce instructions to your students. Instructions provide a wonderful foundation for learning about the procedural text type.
A mixture of actions, such as crossing your hands over your chest, can be included to encourage students to cross their midline. Print out our ‘Simon Says’ Instruction Cards to have on hand for a quick little brain break in your classroom.
(13) Get Active!
Use our Fitness Exercise Cards in your classroom to encourage your students to stay healthy and active. The best part about this resource is it incorporates many exercise moves that students will need to cross their midline to complete.
(14) Follow the Chalk!
Go outdoors and enjoy the fresh air with your students. All you’ll need is a long stretch of concrete path and some sidewalk chalk. Draw an obstacle course on the sidewalk using the chalk and add in activities where students will have to cross their midline.
For example, draw a straight line and trace hand shapes on either side of the line – students have to walk along the line and then place their hands on the hand shapes on either side of the line as they walk.
(15) Ladybug Math
Here’s an example of how you can turn a simple hands-on math activity into a crossing the midline activity as well.
In this Ladybug Adding Activity, students roll one die and place that number of buttons on one side of the ladybug’s back. Then, they roll it again a place that number of buttons on the other side.
By placing the buttons on one side of the child and getting them to place them on the opposite side of the ladybug’s back – they are crossing their midline! Simple!
As you can see, there are so many ways that you can incorporate activities that have students crossing their midline. It’s just a matter of being aware of how you set these activities up so that the children in your class are forced to cross their midline. The more they do it – the easier it becomes.