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Brian-Building Valentines Activities: Midline Crossing, Fine Motor, Vestibular, Visual Planning | ilslearningcorner.com

Brain-Building Valentine’s Activities for Gross and Fine Motor Development

This post contains fun Valentine’s activities to help with your child’s learning development. Affiliate links are included for your convenience. Integrated Learning Strategies (ILS) is a learning and academic center. As a reminder, ILS is not a health care provider and none of our materials or services provide a diagnosis or treatment of a specific condition or learning challenge you may see in your child or student. If you seek a diagnosis or treatment for your child or student, please contact a trained professional who can provide an evaluation of the child.

Holidays create some of the best opportunities for learning development and learning activities. Of course, Valentine’s Day is no exception. As you know, any excuse to improve your students’ gross and fine motor skills, tactile awareness and sensory integration is great. Why not do it with more fun Valentine’s Activities?!

Brian-Building Valentines Activities: Midline Crossing, Fine Motor, Vestibular, Visual Planning | ilslearningcorner.com

Building the brain takes a lot of preparation and work, but why not have a little fun doing it. That is why we’ve compiled several great Valentine’s activities and exercises to help your child cross the midline, improve their visual skills for reading, strengthen the use of their fingers and hands for handwriting and pencil grip, and build their vestibular systems, proprioception and muscle tone, mixed with a little science. Whew! That is a lot in one article, but here we go.

 

Bubbly Hearts

For this activity, you can use household items or there are a few you can find below.

What you will need:

Fine Motor Dropper
Paper
Elmer’s Glue
Baking Soda
Vinegar
Red Food Coloring

Brian-Building Valentines Activities: Midline Crossing, Fine Motor, Vestibular, Visual Planning | ilslearningcorner.com

On plain white paper, take your Elmer’s glue and draw several hearts on the page (create various sizes). You don’t need to wait for the glue to dry and you may even need two coats of glue. Mix your baking soda, red food coloring and vinegar in a separate bowl and let it fizz, just like you would do to make a volcano. Using the fine motor dropper, help your child fill the dropper with our bubbly mixture and add it to the inside of our hearts. Encourage them to stay within the lines if possible.

Brian-Building Valentines Activities: Midline Crossing, Fine Motor, Vestibular, Visual Planning | ilslearningcorner.com

Using fine motor droppers will help your child strengthen their fingers and hands used for handwriting and pencil grip. We especially like to strengthen the thumb and index finger (also known as the pincer grasp) to prepare your child for holding a pencil or for getting them familiar with the process if they have weak hand muscles or poor handwriting.

Brian-Building Valentines Activities: Midline Crossing, Fine Motor, Vestibular, Visual Planning | ilslearningcorner.com

Tape Hearts

There are so many Valentine’s activities you can do with craft tape. For this activity, you can use household tape or painting tape if you can’t find pink craft tape. Here is where you can find pink craft tape below.

What you will need:

Pink Craft Tape (Assorted Colors)

Brian-Building Valentines Activities: Midline Crossing, Fine Motor, Vestibular, Visual Planning | ilslearningcorner.com

With fun craft tape or painters tape, design a heart on your counter or kitchen table. Place tape directly on the table in the shape of a heart. Have your child peel the tape off using both their right and left hands (alternating). Do not let your child peel the tape off using both hands at the same time. This is usually a sign that they have weak fingers and hands.

Brian-Building Valentines Activities: Midline Crossing, Fine Motor, Vestibular, Visual Planning | ilslearningcorner.com

The goal is to work that pincer grasp and their fine motor skills. They should be able to peel the tape off the table with one hand at a time to strengthen their muscles enough for handwriting and pencil grip. If they are young and have not yet established hand-dominance, meaning you don’t know if they are right or left-handed, encourage them to try the activity using both the right and left hands separately. Even though they have not yet established dominance, it will strengthen both hands in preparation for when they are ready to choose which hand they will use for writing.

Brian-Building Valentines Activities: Midline Crossing, Fine Motor, Vestibular, Visual Planning | ilslearningcorner.com

Pompom Hearts

Use household items for this fine motor activity or you can find some of the items below.

What you will need:

Pompoms
Clothes Pins
Craft Paint
Paper
Markers

Brian-Building Valentines Activities: Midline Crossing, Fine Motor, Vestibular, Visual Planning | ilslearningcorner.com

On a sheet of paper, draw a large heart with your marker. Have your child take a close pin and grasp one of the pompoms (encourage them to do this activity with one hand using their thumb and index finger).

Brian-Building Valentines Activities: Midline Crossing, Fine Motor, Vestibular, Visual Planning | ilslearningcorner.com

When the pompom is attached to the close pin, have your child dip the pompom in some paint and dab it on the heart. They can do this activity with several different sizes of pompoms.

Brian-Building Valentines Activities: Midline Crossing, Fine Motor, Vestibular, Visual Planning | ilslearningcorner.com

Help your child stay within the lines if possible. This is another great way to improve your child’s fine motor skills for handwriting.

Brian-Building Valentines Activities: Midline Crossing, Fine Motor, Vestibular, Visual Planning | ilslearningcorner.com

Heart Races

Many of the Valentine’s activities below encourage kids to build their vestibular system through balance. The next series of Valentine’s activities encourages kids to build their gross motor skills using a fun heart balance beam. Cut out hearts from construction paper or find some cutouts below.

What you will need:

Construction Paper
Heart Cutouts
Child Scissors

With your construction paper, cut out two hearts and make them as large as possible. At the end of a long hallway or in your living room make lots of room for your child. Have your child start at one end of the room and place their feet on the two hearts.

Then have your child put their hands on the ground, with their feet firmly planted on the hearts, and have them do the bear crawl or the Spiderman across the living room floor. With the bear crawl, make sure they use both the same hand with the same foot. For the Spiderman, help your child use alternating feet and hands as they cross the room (slightly different exercises working different parts of the brain).

This activity builds your child’s arms, legs and neck muscles used for motor planning, hand-eye coordination and attention and focus. Both the bear crawl and the Spiderman build neural connections in the brain for higher learning.

Heart Balance Beam

Use construction paper to string some hearts together or you can find this heart garland to use as a balance beam below.

What you will need:

Construction Paper
Child Scissors
Hole Punch
String
Heart Garland

The purpose of this activity is to create a “fake” balance beam to help your child with their vestibular system and balance and coordination. First, cut out several hearts with your construction paper (I cut 24 hearts). Punch holes in both the top and bottom of each heart. Tie them together with the string to make a lengthy balance beam.

A poor vestibular system is tied to several learning delays and challenges. If your child struggles in school and has developmental delays, poor muscle tone or behavior struggles, there is a possibility they may have an under-developed vestibular system. That is why you can do several Valentine’s activities with our balance beam to help them get the integration they need to improve their vestibular system. Here are a few of our favorite activities:

Midline Crossing with Ribbons

For this activity, you can create your own heart balance beam or purchase a heart garland. You will also need ribbon sticks for this activity. All supplies and activity ideas are below.

What you will need:

Construction Paper
Child Scissors
Hole Punch
String
Heart Garland
Ribbon Sticks

Have your child begin at the end of the heart balance beam. As they walk across the balance beam have your child take the ribbon sticks and criss-cross them in front of their face alternating right and left arms. This is one way to help your child cross the midline with their arms while improving their vestibular system by walking along the balance beam. If this is too tricky at first, help them build their balance first on the balance beam and then add the ribbons later.

Eye-tracking with Bean Bags

For this activity, you can create your own heart balance beam or purchase a heart garland. You will also need a bean bag for this activity. All supplies and activity ideas are below.

What you will need:

Construction Paper
Child Scissors
Hole Punch
String
Heart Garland
Bean Bags

 

As your child begins walking on the balance beam, have them throw the beanbag in the air and catch it with their hands while they are walking. This activity can be extremely difficult for some children. If they can’t walk and throw the beanbag at the same time, you will want to start out small and work up to it. Eventually you want them doing this activity on their own with both the beanbag and the balance beam together. We want to work those vestibular systems while building their hand-eye coordination. It will help your child’s eye-tracking and visual planning as they prepare to read and write.

Hula Hoop Drops

For this activity, you can create your own heart balance beam or purchase a heart garland. You will also need a hula hoop for this activity. All supplies and activity ideas are below.

What you will need:

Construction Paper
Child Scissors
Hole Punch
String
Heart Garland
Child Hula Hoop

While your child is crossing the balance beam, have your child take the hula hoop and put their head through it so it almost touches their shoulders, then have them raise it above their head, and finally bring the hula hoop in front of them with their arms extended. A simple way to remember it is down, up, front.

Have your child do all of these activities at the same time while walking across the balance beam. It make be tricky at first, but these are great top to bottom exercises used for organizing the brain to improve executive functioning, organization, emotional grounding, expressing emotions, and it also releases the “fight or flight” response in overanxious children.

Heart Crossing

Cut out hearts from construction paper or find some heart cutouts below.

What you will need:

Construction Paper
Heart Cutouts
Child Scissors

Cut out several hearts with your construction paper. Place several side-by-side making a straight line. In the beginning, have your child place both feet firmly on the first two hearts. Then have your child cross one leg over the other to the next heart and back again with the opposite foot (moving forward across the floor).

This activity helps your child cross the midline using their feet. Crossing the midline helps your child sit still in their chair, listen to the teacher (auditory processing), retain letters and words, and improves attention, focus and behavior.


Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning challenges achieve academic success. Our services provide kids with non-traditional tutoring programs within the Davis County, Kaysville, Layton, Syracuse, Farmington, and Centerville areas. Areas to find Integrated Learning Strategies include: Reading tutors in Kaysville, Math tutors in Kaysville, Common Core Tutors in Kaysville, Tutors in Utah, Utah Tutoring Programs

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