December 2014

Draw a line vertically down the middle of your body.  That’s called the midline.  Every time you cross over that line, you are helping connect the hemispheres in your brain.  Put on some music and have children follow along as you do some of these exercises where you cross over the midline:

•Simple Tap - Touch right hand to left knee and left hand to right knee.

•Bend and Stretch - Lift left knee and touch with right elbow.  Lift right knee and touch with left elbow.

•Backwards Touch - Lift left foot behind you and stretch back with right hand and touch.  Reverse for the right foot and left hand.

•Catch a Star –Reach with right hand up in the air to your left and pretend to catch a star.  Then reach with your left hand up in the air to your right and catch a star.  (You can also pick apples, oranges, or any other fruit you like to eat.)

•Windmills – Stretch out feet.  Touch right hand to left foot.  Stand.  Touch left hand to right foot.

•Pat on the Back – Alternate patting the back of your left shoulder with your right hand and your right shoulder with your left hand.

•Picking Peppers – Stand with feet stretched.  Bend to the left and pretend to pull something beyond your left foot with your right hand.  Stand.  Bend to the right and pretend to pull something with your left hand.

•Push and Pull – Stand with hands on hips.  Twist left and push with palms up and then pretend to pull something towards you.  Twist and push and pull to the right.

•Piddle Paddle – Put fists on top of each other as if holding an oar.  Pretend to paddle on the right side of the body and then sweep hands and pretend to paddle on the left.

•Shopping – Pretend to steer a grocery cart and then reach to the left with your right hand and take something off the shelf and put it in your cart.  Reach with the left hand to the right and put something in the cart.

•Climbing – Act like you are climbing a ladder as you reach up with your right hand and lift your left knee.  Reach with your left hand and lift your right knee.

•Nose and Ears – Touch right ear with left hand and place right hand on your nose.  Touch left ear with right hand and place left hand on your nose.

•Disco Dance – Put right index finger in the air and point to the left.  Bring right index finger down by your side.  Place left index finger in the air and point to the right.  Then bring down by your side.

•Put the Fire Out – Pretend to get a pail and scoop up water on the floor by your right foot.  Throw that pail of water over your left shoulder.  After ten times in this direction scoop water from the left and throw it over your right shoulder.

•Crazy Eights – Make the figure eight in front of you with your right hand and then your left hand.   Make “lazy” eights by making eight laying down with your right hand.  Make lazy eights with your left hand.
Clasp fingers on your right and left hand and make large lazy eights.
Lean over and pretend to draw an imaginary “lazy” eight on the floor with your right hand and then your left hand.

Hugging their brains helps children cross the midline and center themselves.  This is a great activity to help children with self-regulation.  Say and demonstrate these motions as children follow along.
Thumbs up.                (Stick up your thumbs in front of you.)
Thumbs down.            (Point thumbs down.)
Cross your arms.        (Cross fists with thumbs pointing down.)
Clasp your fingers.     (Keeping wrists crossed hold hands.)
Bring your hands in.   (Bring clasped hands down and in toward your chest.)
Give yourself a hug.    (Squeeze arms.)

Here’s another activity to build bridges in the brain and help children can gain self-control.
Thumb up.                  (Stick up one thumb.)
Across the chest.        (Bring thumb to opposite shoulder.)
Pat on the back.          (Pat opposite shoulder.)
Cause you’re the BEST!  (Children hug themselves.)

Streamers can add another dimension to crossing the midline and activating the brain.

•Staple tissue paper streamers to a straw and have children follow along as you make cross lateral movements to music.

•Give children a piece of toilet paper about 3’ long to use as a streamer.  Have them follow along as you make figure eights in the air, circle the streamer around your body, wave it high, swing it low, and so forth.  (Roll up the toilet paper, put it in your desk, and you can use it again.)

•Cut surveying tape in 3’ sections and play follow the leader as different students make motions for friends to follow along.


Children can improve eye-hand coordination and cross the midline by juggling scarves, paper towels, or wadded up paper balls. 

Begin by having children wad up a piece of scrap paper.  Can they toss it and catch it?  Can they play catch with a friend?  Can they toss it, clap, and then catch it?  How many times can they toss it without dropping it?  Practice tossing the paper ball from the right hand to the left.  Add a second paper ball and let the fun begin!   Try juggling to music.

Hint!  To make inexpensive juggling scarves, cut netting fabric into 12” squares.

Have students stand and follow along as you shake your right hand and count to five.
Shake your left hand and count to five.
Shake your right foot and count to five.
Shake your left foot and count to five.
Shake right hand, left hand, right foot, and left foot as you count to four…three…two…one.
End by saying, “Oh, yeah!” as you make a circle over your head like an “O” and they put arms up like the letter “Y.”

•Do shake down fast, slow, etc.
Try doing shake down as you count in different languages.
To calm children down do shake down silently. 


Have children play hand clap games, such as “Miss Mary Mack” or “Say, Say My Playmate.”  (You can find lots of these online.) Children face a partner and clap their hands together. Next, clap right hand to partner’s right hand.   Clap hands together and then clap left hand to partner’s left hand.  Continue the pattern.

Patty cake nursery rhymes by singing them to the tune of  “100 Bottles of Pop on the Wall.”

Patty cake letters and sounds.  Cross and tap right hands as you say a letter.  Clap and cross left hands as you make the sound.  You could also say nouns or verbs that start with that sound.

Patty cake and count to 10, 20, 50, 100 or more!

Skip count by 2’s, 5’s, 10’s etc. as you patty cake.

Patty cake spelling words, vocabulary, or sight words.  Clap hands as you say the word.  Cross and tap as you spell the word.  High five in the air as you say the word again.

Make up different clapping patterns.  For example, you might slap thighs twice, clap twice, and high five twice.

DOUBLE DOUBLE THIS THIS   (This is “advanced” patty caking!)

Double,                       (You and your partner make fists
Double,                       with your hands and tap together twice.)
This,                            (Open hands and tap palms with partner twice.)
Double,                       (Tap fists twice.)
That,                           (Tap backs of palms with partner twice.)
Double                        (Tap fists once.)
This,                            (Tap palms once.)
Double                        (Tap fists once.)
That,                           (Tap backs of palms once.)
Double,                       (Tap fists twice.)
This,                            (Tap palms once.)
That.                           (Tap backs of palms once.)

•Reinforce compound words with this rhyme.  For example:
Double, double, rain, rain.
Double, double, coat, coat.
Double rain.
Double coat.
Double, double raincoat.

(“Is Everybody Happy?” CD)
Children will have great fun doing “Ride that Pony” with a partner:

Ride, ride, ride that pony,                               (Face partner and begin clapping to the
Get up and ride that big, black pony.             beat.  Bounce up and down as if riding
Ride, ride, ride that pony.                               on a pony.)
This is what they told me.
Front, front, front, my baby.                          (Clap hands up in the air with partner.)
Side, to side, to side, my baby.                       (Gently bump hips on the side.)
Back, back, back, my baby,                            (Turn around and bump back sides.)
This is what they told me.                              (Find a new partner.)

Activities:  Do this as a line dance.  Children form two lines facing each other.  Step down to get a new partner after touching backsides.


Begin by crossing your right leg over your left knee.  Place your right elbow on your
knee and prop your chin in that palm.  Sing the song below to the tune of
“Reuben, Reuben, I’ve Been Thinking.”

I am slowly going crazy. 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – switch.
(On the word “switch,” switch positions by crossing your left leg on your 
right knee and placing your left elbow on your knee.)
Crazy going slowly am I.  6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – switch.

Continue singing the song faster as you change positions every time you sing the word “switch.”


Have children stand.  Tell them to jump as long as they can.  When they get tired they can sit back in their seats. 

Hint!  Have children look at the second hand on the clock to see how long they can jump.  Record the seconds.  Each day practice “jumping” and have them record how their time improves.


Have children stand.  How long can they balance on their right foot?  How long can they balance on their left foot?  Can they balance on their right toes?  Left toes?  Can they balance on their right foot and extend their left leg in the air?   Can they balance on one foot with their eyes closed?


Chop wood five or ten times and you’ll get lots of blood going to the brain!
Put your arms in the air as if holding an ax.  Pretend to chop wood by bringing arms down and bending over as you say,  “Aayah!”

Pretend to place your ax on your right shoulder and chop down to the left.  Place the ax on your left shoulder and pretend to chop to the right.


Face forward with a stiff right palm on your left shoulder.  Chop that right hand down toward your right side.  Take a stiff left palm and place it on your right shoulder.  Now chop that left hand down toward your left side.  Count, say abc’s, spell words, etc. as you do your karate chops.  (Thanks to Mara Horn of Olean, NY, for this activity.)


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