When you see a baby cry and they pull up both legs at the same time, or you see a baby startled and they lift both hands at the same time, these are examples of Homologous Movements.
Homologous Movement involves symmetrical movement of both feet and hands at the same time. It is the second critical developmental movement a baby experiences.
Homologous movement develops a sense of the upper and lower halves of the body. It supports and stimulates development of the limbic system (emotions, relationships, organization).
In the beginning of the crawling stage, some babies may crawl in a frog-like pattern pulling up both legs and then pulling with both arms at the same time; this is an example of homologous movement. They haven’t learned how to use each side of their bodies yet, so they use only the upper half or lower half of their bodies to move.
With Homologous movements, we develop symmetrical movements — such as push-ups and jumping with both feet — and differentiate the upper part of our bodies from the lower part of our bodies.
In our songs, I try to incorporate a lot of bouncing or jumping actions. These actions are important, as first they help give a child a sense of groundedness (roots to the ground), while strengthening homologous movements in the body.
Fun things you can do with your student or child to strengthen Homologous movements:
* Have fun jumping in all directions: up/down, left/right, etc. Add the arms lifting up together at the same time, to include the upper half of the body. Pretend to be down hill skiing.
* Jump and throw a ball balloon and try to catch it before it hits the ground, or let it bounce and then catch it with two hands. (Try using textured balls or toys to also further develop tactile senses.)
* Sit with a partner and push hands or feet (or both) together. The other partner yields and allows the partner to push harder. Switch roles and repeat. These same movements can be done individually against a wall.
* Homologous Swing (reach and jump) – bend knees and swing arms back. Then swing arms forward (reaching with both arms) and jump with both feet forward.
In our Wiggle Jiggle Fitness Fun CD, which is intended for younger children, homologous movements are included in almost every song.
– Liz Jones-Twomey