X II and ∞, are the three main symbols used for Kinesiology and Braingym integration balances. These images symbolise left, right-brain dominance or, most importantly, whole-brain integration. The X symbolises full brain integration while the ∞ is the movement pattern the cross follows during the balancing process. The infinity symbol stems from the Tibetan energy work to heal and harmonise the body’s energy. The symbol’s kinetic movement has been adapted into actions for child development, especially for focusing on left and dominant right movements that cross the midline.
It has become a common understanding of the importance of recognising the different child’s developmental stages and the changes during childhood. We recognise these stages only as an opportunity to monitor and map rather than fixate. Watching them learn left and right coordination and successfully integrate these movements is one of my favourite stages. I would play around with the kids, placing their spoon in their non-dominant hand and watching them put it down to pick it up with their ‘favoured’ hand. I especially loved watching them paint a picture on the easel and use their left hand to paint the left side and their right hand to paint the right. But my all-time favourite small kid’s entertainment is encouraging them to jump with 2 feet and not get both feet off the ground simultaneously. As cute as this phase is with growth and development, it will soon fade.
On numerous occasions, I spoke about this concept with my Mum (Early Education Trained), especially while my kids were young and learning to eat with a spoon. She reminisced about the simple activities they included in their kindergarten programs to encourage young kids to cross the midline reinforcing neurological pathway. When I sit and consider that her training is over 36 years old, one would assume that the education system had midline development sorted. Thinking more profoundly, I realised that this development phase is more observed and not explicitly developed within direct practice outside of specific OT-directed activities. But given the current change in kids’ play and outdoor exportation, kids are not moving, playing and exploring as they once did 20 years ago, let alone 10.
As a high school physical education teacher, I often notice that some students still exhibit midline issues when performing simple movement skills at ages 12 to 15. Sometimes, as the teacher, I will need to pulse and revisit this early development stage by returning to fundamental movement skills, teaching simple left and right-side movement phases that are easily repeated to strengthen these pathways. Fun age-appropriate movement phases that challenge whole-brain integration will drastically improve students’ movement and confidence in the classroom and playground. As a teacher, I often put such movement phases into a class warm-up so that the students experience them without any specific awareness.
Reading and writing, for some individuals, can exhibit midline disorientation and may become easily confused by specific letters. Kinesiology and Braingym-focused movement that reinforces movement pathways across the midline can help resolve letter or number reversal issues. As a Kinesiologist rather than a teacher, the infinity symbol of balance reveals its true magic.
All letters within the alphabet can be traced into the infinity symbol. When the infinity symbol is drawn in the air before the body, any jerky movement can be seen more quickly. Within a specific kinesiology balance, the Kinesiologist would muscle test specifics like letters and stress emotions and address these within the balance. After which, the client would trace over the infinity symbol several times and then write any letters or numbers experiencing trouble. I have written about this simple balance in a previous social media post and provided a printable template in the resources section. The aim is to continue the movement until smooth and no longer causes stress.
Fun activities for kids adding the Infinity pattern into play for Brain integration
- Drawing ∞ on a Chalkboard: Large vertical or horizontal surfaces like chalkboards encourage children to use both hands and cross the midline while drawing or writing.
- Racing Cars on an Infinity Symbol Road Map: Using toy cars on a track shaped like an infinity symbol (a horizontal figure of eight) promotes bilateral coordination and midline crossing.
- Drawing Infinity Shapes with Various Mediums: Encourage children to draw infinity shapes (figure of eight) using finger painting, bubbles, or steam on windows. This activity helps in developing fine motor skills and spatial awareness.
- Scarf and Ribbon Play: Use scarves and ribbons for play, encouraging children to wave, twirl, and throw them with both hands separately. This is fun and aids in eye tracking and bilateral coordination.
- Rolling a Ball in Figure of Eight: Rolling a ball around the feet in a figure-of-eight pattern is an excellent way to encourage midline crossing. Mixing up the size and shapes of the balls adds variety and challenge.
- Tracing in Sand and Making Waterways: Encourage children to trace designs or make waterways in the sand, requiring them to reach across their bodies and improve their sensory skills.
- Skipping and Hula Hooping: Activities like skipping with a rope and hula hooping, especially when transferring the hoop from one hand to another or performing cross-steps, are excellent for physical coordination and midline crossing.
- Yoga for Kids: Certain yoga poses require crossing the midline, improving balance, focus, and coordination.
- Interactive Storytelling with Gestures: Encourage children to act out stories using exaggerated arm movements that cross the midline, enhancing imaginative play and motor skills.
- Playing Musical Instruments: Instruments like the drum or piano require children to use both hands coordinated, often crossing the midline.
- Cooking and Baking Projects: Simple kitchen tasks like stirring in an infinite movement encourage children to use both hands and cross the midline.
Simple Sporting skills that reinforce crossing the midline
- Warm-up running drills, cross crawl, high knees, bounding steps, kicking bottom, etc
- Totem tennis, aiming to hit the ball from both sides, will benefit both hand-eye coordination, arm strength for writing and eye-tracking for reading.
- Crawling through an obstacle course/ tunnel, climbing up a ladder, rope or climbing frame
- Crossing a monkey bar (fantastic for boys to improve strength and coordination for handwriting)
- Yoga! SEE MEDITEDDY yoga cards for younger children!
- Activities that repeatedly reinforce the cross-crawl action, like bike riding, swimming, bilateral paddling and bushwalking, are fantastic (This rules out the popular scooter as it typically only develops the dominant side, uneven leg strength and a tilted pelvis position).