X II and ∞, are the three of the main symbols used for Kinesiology and Brain gym integration balances. These images symbolise either a left, right brain dominance or more importantly whole brain integration. The X is a symbol of 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 bodies energy and has been adapted into actions for child development especially for focusing on left and right dominate movements that cross the midline.
It is a common understanding the importance of recognising the different child’s developmental stage and the changes that occur during childhood. We recognise these stages only as an opportunity to monitor and map rather than to fixate upon. One of my favourite stages is to watch them learning left and right coordination and to successfully integrate these movements together. I would play around with the kids, placing their spoon in their non-dominated hand and watching them put it down to pick it up with their ‘favored’ hand. I especially loved watching the 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 favorite small kid’s entertainment is encouraging them to jump with 2 feet and not being able to get both feet off the ground at the same time. 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 spoke about simple activities they use to include into their programming for kindergarten programmes to encourage young kids to cross the midline reinforcing neurological path way. When I sit and considering that her training is over 36 years old, one would assume that the education system had midline development sorted. Considering things deeper I released that this development phase is more observed and not specifically developed within any form of directly 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, often I will notice that some students still exhibit midline issues when performing simple movement skills at aged 12-15. Sometimes as the teacher I will need to pulse and revisit this early stage of development by coming back to the basics fundamental movements skills. Teaching simple left and right-side movements phases that are easily repeated until the movement is an easy way to strengthen these pathways. Fun age appropriate movement phases that challenge whole brain integration will drastically improve a student’s movement and confidence in the classroom and playground. As a teacher, I will often put such movement phases into a class warm up so that the students experience them, without any specific awareness of doing so.
Reading and writing, for some individuals can exhibit the midline disorientated and may become easily confused from specific letters. This is where taking the time to reinforce movements that crossing the midline, can help to set down any letter or number reversal issues and where the infinity symbol reveals its true magic.
All letters within the alphabet can be traced into the infinity symbol. The infinity symbol when drawn in front of the body is a shape that crosses the midline and allows for any jerky movement when tracing to be practiced until smooth. 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 with. I have written about this simple balance within a previous post, and provided a printable template in the resources section. The aim is to continue movement until smooth and no longer causing stress.
Fun activities for kids -Infinity for Brain integration
- Drawing on a chalk board
- Racing cars on a road map shaped in the infinity symbol.
- Drawing the infinity shape with finger painting, bubbles, stem on the window.
- Scarf and ribbon play (this is also good for eye tracking) remember to use both hands separately, together and if your game feet as well
- Rolling a ball in a figure of eight around your feet, mix it up with ball size
- Tracing in the sand, making water ways in the sand
- Skipping and hula hooping, spinning the hoop on one hand and swapping to another or performing a cross skip step with the rope.
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 and arm strength for writing as well and eye tracking for reading. This is one of my favorite for the boys.
- 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 hand writing)
- Yoga! SEE MEDITEDDY!
- Repetitive activities that reinforce the cross-crawl action, bike riding, swimming, bilateral paddling and bush walking. Remember here to be mindful of scooter use development of dominate side, uneven leg strength and pelvis position.
Actives such as golf, croquet, hockey, cricket and baseball especially when hitting a stationary ball placed in the child’s midline