Easy and fun crossing the midline activities kids love. Plus tips Occupational Therapists use and FREE PRINTABLE!
Being a mom of 4 kiddos, I know the struggle with trying to come up with ideas. Can I just say dinner ideas? AND it’s every single day.
I have done the work for you. Using my pediatric Occupational Therapist experience of 15+ years, I have compiled a list of Crossing Midline Activities your kids will love doing!
What is the Midline of the body?
Imagine that you have an imaginary line drawn down your body from your nose, through your belly button and down to the floor. This line is called your midline!
Ideally, you want to be able to cross midline with both of your arms and your feet. This will let your body know what’s happening on both sides of it. It is also a big factor in being efficient in self care and school tasks.
When a kiddo can’t cross midline, they will bring one hand to midline and then switch to the other hand to complete the task. These kiddos will also rotate their body rather than move their arms across their chest.
40 Crossing Midline Activities
- Hand Clapping Games – Teach your kiddo Miss Merry Mack! If you don’t remember how it goes checkout this video! If it’s too fast for you, go to settings in YouTube, and change the Playback speed to .75. That should help!
- Toe Touches – Either sit down and spread your legs apart, and touch one foot with the same hand. Or you can stand with your legs apart, bend over, and touch one foot with both hands. Reach for the outside part of the foot!
- In the bathtub, Wash Your Arm with Your Other hand – During bath time, squirt body soap or give a bar of soap in one hand and have them wash their other arm. Switch hands when done!
- Bubble Wands – Kids Love to make Bubbles! Instead of blowing them, use these Bubble Wands by moving it back and forth across your body!
- Use a Hula-Hoop – The beginning action of hula hooping requires you to cross midline!
- Cross Crawls – Bring your elbow to the opposite side knee. Repeat with the other side. This is a great activity that organizes the body too!
- Tug of War – Tie a string in the middle of a rope. Set up two lines on the floor equal distance from the string. Have one person at each end and pull the rope using two hands. The person who gets the string to cross their line first wins. When kids start to really pull, they generally will move into a pulling motion across their body which crosses midline.
- Play Cards – Have your kiddo hold their cards in one hand so that they can see what each card is. Every time they add or take a card from their hand, they have to cross midline!
- Hockey Stick Passing or Shooting – In order to make a ball or puck go, you need to pull the hockey stick back before hitting it. Make sure both hands stay on the stick!
- Trace/Draw Figure 8’s – I like to do figure 8’s on vertical surfaces, but they can be done on a desk or floor as well. Draw one on a piece of paper and have your kiddo trace it with different colored chalk, crayons, or markers.
The key to this is making sure the figure 8 is big enough that your kiddo has to cross midline. Prompt them to stay in the middle of the figure 8, as some kiddo’s will shift their body to accommodate the distance.
- Hold A Piece of Paper to The Wall with One Hand and Complete – Have your kiddo hold a piece of paper at the top, in the middle, to the wall using their helper hand. This works best when the paper is held in landscape position.
- Pretend to Rock a Baby in Your Arms – Have your kiddo hold their arms in front of them and grab their elbows with their hands. Pretend to rock a baby by swinging their arms back and forth.
- Balloon Pass – This is a great game played while kneeling! Tape a paper plate to a ruler and have your kiddo hit the balloon with only the paper plate. If no one else is around to play, see how many times your kiddo can tap the balloon in the air before it falls to the ground!
- Throw a Frisbee – To throw a frisbee, you need to cross midline!
- Ball Figure 8’s Through Legs – Stand with your legs apart. Hold a ball in one hand. Reach through your legs and give the ball to the other hand that is behind your leg. Then bring the ball forward, around your leg, and back through your legs to give it to your other hand.
Try to complete this action smoothly and without stopping for 10 rotations! Once one way is mastered, try doing it in reverse!
- Walk on A Line and Point to Items using Flash Light/laser – Place a piece of painters tape on the floor long enough to walk back and forth on it. Have your kiddo point with a flashlight at different items. The rule is that they need to keep their body facing the direction that they are walking!
- Hit a Ball with Bat or Tennis Racket – Kids love to hit balls! Have them hold the bat or tennis racket with two hands and prompt them to not let go! Using a baseball tee or tying a string to a wiffle ball and then to a tree can help with accuracy of hitting!
- Sit-N-Spin – A classic toy for kids under 41 pounds! Although kids can get it to turn without crossing midline, if they do cross midline the spin is better! Show your kiddo how to place one hand on the turn handle close to their body. The other hand goes on the other side of the turn handle, crossing midline.
- Simon Says – Playing Simon Says is a great imitating game. For my preschool and kindergarten aged kids, I always have the kids follow me and don’t try to catch them not listening by doing an action before saying, Simon says. My goal IS the action so I want them to follow me ALL OF THE TIME!
Try these different poses. Don’t be afraid to include actions to the position like tapping or squeezing. You can also have them cross their legs.
- Movement to a Beat – Complete one of the above movements to a beat. If you have a metronome for playing an instrument, pick a beat and try it. If not, there are free metronome apps available on the internet.
- Give Yourself a Squeeze – Cross your arms over your chest and grab your arms. Give yourself a squeeze or a hug!
- Roll Back and Up Hugging Knees – Sitting on the floor, bring your knees to your chest and hold them there with your arms. Encourage your kiddo to grab their forearms to help if they can reach that far. Hold this position, lean back so that you rock onto your back. Try to rock on your back and then sit back up without letting go of your arms!
- Pass a Ball to a Friend While Sitting Back to Back – Have two kids sit back to back and pass a ball to each other. Change directions in which you are passing. If you have more players, have kids sit shoulder to shoulder to make a circle. Remind the kiddos to use two hands to pass the ball to their friend.
- Make Big Strokes on horizontal or Vertical Surface – Using big strokes is a great way to naturally cross midline. The bigger the area, the better!
- Spin on a Scooter Board – Have your kiddo lay on their stomach, on the scooter board, and spin by using only their hands. In order to get it to really spin, they need to bring both hands to one side of their body and pull!
- Sit On a Ball/Chair and Pick Up Off the Floor – Use a small ball or chair where your kiddos feet and/or knees touch the floor. Place objects to the left and right of your kiddo and have them pick them up with the opposite hand.
- Wall Taping Visual Crossing Midline – Place a piece of painters tape vertically down a wall at the same height as your kiddo. Tape letters, words, numbers, shapes, on each side of the wall. Call out a specific item to look for and have the kiddo tap it with their opposite foot or hand that the item is on.
- Tic-Tac-Toe on Floor – Draw a large tic-tac-toe board on the floor. Have your kiddo sit either in the side sitting position or on their hands and knees at the center of the board. If they are using their right hand, have them sit closest to the right row. If they are using their left hand, have them sit closer to the left row.
- Pull Something Behind You Using 2 Hands – My favorite way to do this is using a large blanket, or a fabric tunnel. Have someone else sit or add toys for resistance to the blanket. Pull the blanket with two hands by putting it over one shoulder and facing away from it.
- Brush/Squeeze Arms and Legs With Hand – Using your flat hand, place your hand on your opposite shoulder. Using a firm hand, brush your hand away from your body moving down your arm. Repeat until you reach your hand. Then do your other arm using the other hand. Continue on your legs using the opposite hand until you reach your ankle.
- Put Tape/Stickers/Index Cards on One Arm – Peel the stickers or tape off using your other hand! My kids love working on their sight words with this activity! Scramble the letters so that your kiddo needs to remember how to spell their word or practice making sentences!
Have more words than body space? You can also place them on their trunk.
- Hang A Ball on a String and Tap With Alternating Hand or Foot – This is another great use with a wiffle ball! Have your kiddo try and tap the ball when it’s directly in front of them. Alternate between right and left hand or right and left foot!
- Throw a Ball – Holding the ball in one hand raised near your ear, step forward with the other side foot and then throw. If you are still not sure how to teach this skill, checkout this resource here.
- Long Sit Patterning With an Object – Sit on the floor with your legs straight out or straight out but slightly opened. Hold a ball with two hands and follow a pattern of tapping the ball on the floor either to the right, left or in between your legs. The key is to use a large enough ball that your kiddo can not hold it with one hand!
- Make Chalk Lines along a fence or brick wall – Have your kiddo stand next to a wall. Hold a piece of chalk in the hand farthest from the wall. Cross their chest with that hand and draw a line with the chalk as they walk. Stop and turn around, switching hands!
- Tap a Moving Target – Stand in front of your kiddo. Hold a different colored item in each hand (balloon, paper plate, piece of construction paper. Put a piece of tape on the top of their hand with the same color of one of the items you are holding. Move the targets and have your kiddo tap the target using alternate hands. Make sure that the target is on the opposite side of the hand with that color on it.
- Turn a Rope Holding It With 2 Hands – Attach a rope to a post or a tree. Grab the end of the rope with two hands and begin turning it until it moves in a circle.
- Dance Moves – Does your Kiddo love to dance? Teach them these dance moves Flossing, The Macarena, The Cabbage Patch,
- Rub Lotion In – Put lotion on your kiddo’s arm or leg and have them rub it in using the opposite hand. My favorite is putting lotion on their upper arm, as they don’t have a choice which hand to use!
- Put on a Temporary Tattoo – Have your kiddo help put on a temporary tattoo on their upper arm. In order for the tattoo to transfer to their skin, you need to hold a wet paper towel on it. When placed on the upper arm, they HAVE to cross midline!
Look for THIS when doing Cross Midline Activities
THIS IS SO IMPORTANT!
Kiddos who have trouble crossing their midline will often rotate their body so that they actually don’t cross. You will also see this with kiddos who are extra flexible.
So, for every cross midline activity that you do, check to see if their arm is actually crossing the imaginary line that runs through their belly button.
Use these strategies that Occupational Therapists Use!
Sometimes even with the best activity, your kiddo needs more help in order to do it correctly. Try using these prompts to help ensure your kiddo is successful!
- Put a mark on the floor where your kiddo has to stand
- Have your kiddo hold something in their helper hand to prevent hand switching
- Put a mark where your kiddo needs to keep their helper hand
- Have your kiddo sit on their helper hand during activities it does not have to assist
Don’t be afraid to use one of these strategies or more than one! It is not uncommon to use multiple prompts. As your kiddo becomes better at crossing midline, remove a prompt one at a time.
What to Expect when working on Crossing Midline
Crossing midline takes a while to learn and to become automatic. Be patient and offer a lot of opportunities for your kiddo to do them!
A student I was working with once told me it’s like a wall that his body does not want to go through. But when he does “break it down” it feels uncomfortable.
If your kiddo is having trouble, pick activities that exaggerate the motion like # 21, giving themselves a squeeze or #35, walking along a fence while drawing a chalk line or #39 where they don’t have a choice but to use their other hand.
Now that You have ALL of these crossing the midline activities, Pin them to your Pinterest Board named Activities for Kids!
Although, Pinterest is a great way to see all of my activities I know sometimes its just easier written down!
I hear you!
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If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. I am sure that you are not the only one with the same question! I read all comments and would love to hear from you!
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Kelly is a licensed Occupational Therapist with 15 years of experience servicing school-aged children and Early Intervention. She is the founder of OT Perspective and a mom to 4 children. To learn more about her, check out her About Me page, here.