Friday, February 17, 2012

Criss Cross Applesauce: Cross Lateral Movement part 2

Cross Lateral Movement

In the first part of this series, I told you about cross lateral movement and why it is important. To sum up quickly, movements that cause the arms and legs to cross over the mid-line of the body cause the left side of the brain to work together with the right side of the brain. This is important for activities such as reading and writing which require the hand and eye to cross the mid-line.

Babies begin to do this naturally when they learn how to crawl, using their right arm in time with their left leg to move across the floor. As children get older, there are many different activities that can encourage arms and legs to cross the mid-line.

What can we do?

Here is a list of activities from this blog and from other wonderful blogs of various activities you can do with your children at home or in the class room to encourage cross lateral movement.

Play Pirate

Give your child an eye patch and allow her to follow an object from one side of her mid line to another.


Stirring is a great way to get the left and right side of the brain working together. Invite your child to bake with you and allow them to to stir the mixture with a spoon.

Music and Movement

Song and dance is another great way to get children to cross their mid-line. Check out these music and movement activities from The Nurture Store

and Rainbows Within Reach

Build an obstacle course

Obstacle courses are another great way to mimic the crawling action done by infants. If you happen to have a child who skipped the crawling phase, creating an obstacle course which requires getting on hands and knees to move through it would be an excellent way to introduce these skills. Check out this winter obstacle course by  The Golden Gleam.


Have you ever considered doing yoga at home with your little one? Not only can it be very calming and relaxing, but there are poses which require the arms and legs to cross the mid-line, so it is also brain boosting! It is a win all the way around. Check out these great posts from Carrots are Orange!


Any projects done on a large scale will encourage cross lateral movement. Here we see a large scale activity from Play Activities done with glue and a card board box. As the child traces his fingers across the glue he is crossing the mid line.

Another example of this would be to draw a maze on a large white board and let the child move their arms back and forth, crossing their mid-line as they work.

Go Vertical

Using an easel to paint vertically also encourages children to cross their mid-lines. If you want to mix it up further, you can give the child two paint brushes so they will be working with both sides of the brain together.

Sort it out

If you are looking for some fine motor practice that also involves cross lateral movement, try this sorting exercise. Here you see that as she sorts the colored pom poms into the appropriate baskets, she is crossing her arm in front of her.

Hug of War

The last activity on my list is my favorite! Big hugs! Find someone you love, pull them close, wrap your arms around each other and squeeze! It's good for the soul and it's good for the brain!

I would like to thank all of the bloggers who helped me with this post. If you have a chance, check out some of the amazing blogs mentioned above. I would also like to thank Melissa from Imagination Soup and Gwyndolyn Jones, for all of their behind the scenes help. You ladies are awesome!


  1. Thanks so much for including the reference to my post on this topic. It is a very important one for teachers, care-givers and parents to understand on behalf of the children they care for + LOVE!

    I'm especially grateful for your linking it to the brand new Co-op!


  2. I really appreciate the ideas for older kids. I have a nearly 6 year old with sensory issues and he's outgrowing the toddler activities that I usually come up with. Nice post.

  3. Thank you Christie. It can be hard to find activities for grade school kids, but cross lateral movement is just as important for older children as well. I'm happy that you found this post helpful.

  4. Goodness, Kristin, I've no idea why I wasn't already following you on facebook and Pinterest and such. Following now. Love this post. Pinned to my SPD/Kids and OT board. We are always looking for wonderful ways to practice crossing the midline. My 7 year old daughter hates the exercises that her OT gives her for this, even though they are helpful. When I work in cross lateral movements with play, she doesn't even realize it. Thank you for these great ideas!


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