Planes of Motion

So our bodies move in multiple planes: think front and back and side to side. Create a game – either oral, with cards or dice that challenges the other person to move in all directions.

A simple version for toddlers to kids (and their parents to join in!) is a dice game such as the one featured here.  This is an excellent game you can make as easy, creative or challenging as you want.

For older kids and adults, you can have fun learning anatomical terms to describe planes of movement by making a card game.  If you exercise and have never thought about how your body moves, it’s pretty interesting!   Put the cards in the middle of the table and turn over two cards.  The person who moves correctly at their turn according to his/her card, keeps the cards. Alternatively, race, and whoever can do the move the fastest keeps the cards.  The person with the most cards at the end wins the game!

What goes on the cards? A body part and one of the four planes of motion. The sagittal plane divides the body into right and left, so every time you take a step forward or do a bicep curl, you are moving in the sagittal plane.  You can even add a more difficult layer to the game by talking about flexion (curling your arm up for the bicep curl) or extension (the lowering phase of the curl). Can you challenge each other to come up with new movements for each one?

The frontal plane divides the body into front and back, and within this plane you can move your arms and legs away from you to the side (abduction) like a jumping jack, and back towards your center (adduction) completing the jumping jack, bringing your legs together. If you have a high schooler, add in elevation and depression, like your shoulder blades moving up and down. There are deeper and deeper levels to go here, of course. You can add in more anatomical terms or more anatomy. Why stop at the scapula (shoulder blades)? The goal is to develop awareness, moving through every plane, challenging each other’s creativity and having an interesting, dynamic, active discussion with your kiddo that carries over into day to day.  One of you will be getting cereal one day and suddenly say “Hey, what planes am I moving in?”

There is also the transverse plane that divides the body into top and bottom. Motion in the transverse plane is rotational around the axis of your spine.  Think of swinging a baseball bat.

The last plane of motion is circumduction, which is the combination of all three planes above, such as drawing circles with your arms or legs. If you get really into this, there are a lot of other terms to explore such as how the foot moves (dorsiflexion and plantar flexion), the ways the wrists move (pronation and supination), etc.

The goal is not to get overwhelmed, but to explore the movement of your body with mindfulness, appreciation, and a sense of fun. If you are still reading this, bravo! You are on your way to super body awareness!