The infinity walk-Walking to foster development
Walking represents a developmental activity with an infinite number of possibilities.
What is it?
The Infinity Walk method, also called "figure eight walking", is in fact a figure eight pattern a person must walk on while keeping his/her eyes on an object or person and his/her head turned at a 90-degree angle.
What can it do?
Walking along this pattern stimulates the simultaneous management of one's senses: movement, sight, hearing, thinking, speaking.
What are the developmental benefits associated with the Infinity Walk?
- Improves communication between the two hemispheres of one's brain as well as both sides of his/her body.
- Increased complete and automatic coordination of the body.
- Improves the ability to control both eyes together as well as one's capacity to visually track an object or person.
What are the functional benefits associated with the Infinity Walk?
- Prepares the brain for learning.
- Improves concentration and the ability to reason efficiently.
- Improves coordination for sports involving a ball or other moving object.
What is the origin of the method?
Created by Dr. Sunbeck, a psychologist, Infinity Walk was initially used for therapeutic benefits at a neurological level. The pattern was used globally to make learning cognitive and motor skills easier.
How does it work?
- Set two cones or other interesting visual references (ex. two dinosaur figurines) on the ground, 3 to 5 feet apart.
- The child must begin by learning to follow the Infinity Walk pattern. You can use chalk (outdoors) or adhesive tape (indoors) to draw a figure eight pattern around the items. As soon as the child understands the pattern, erase the chalk or remove the adhesive tape.
- The adult or another child stands, facing the centre of the figure eight and holding a visual target in his/her hands. The visual target can also be displayed on a wall, for example if it's a small poster containing letters or a row of illustrations.
- The child walks along the pattern at an average speed while keeping his/her eyes on the target at all times. Depending on the child's starting position, he/she may be able to easily maintain visual contact with the target at all times (his/her back to the target at the start). He/she may also have to turn his/her body and head to relocate the target every time he/she completes the figure eight pattern (facing the target at the start). I suggest starting with the direction that will not involve the child having to rotate his/her head. Encourage the child to change direction later on to increase the level of difficulty.
- To further increase the level of difficulty, you can ask the child questions about the visual target. For example, you may encourage the child to name the items seen as he/she walks by them.
- As you increase the level of difficulty (by asking questions), it is normal for the Infinity Walk to deteriorate somewhat. Continue practicing to improve the child's ability to process information and follow the pattern at the same time.
You can see an example of the Infinity Walk here: http://www.infinitywalk.org/
Josiane Caron Santha
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