Thursday, April 03, 2008

Messing with your mind, and it’s not even April Fool’s Day

I stumbled on this cool experiment when we had friends over for brunch this weekend and I wanted to keep the kids entertained. In place of mimosas to start their day, C and her friend bound books by hole punch*, then, in between chasing each other around the house, spent a good thirty minutes writing „stories“ and illustrating them. (How I love crafty kids, especially in the morning, it keeps the noise down.)

When the books were nearly done, and my daily cup of tea had fully kicked in, I showed the kids how to draw with two pens at the same time using two hands. They thought this very cool, and we pulled out extra paper to play with.

Here’s the trick: decide on a symmetrical picture to draw. Then, starting at the top of your paper, two hands and pens together, start drawing down the page, making your lines mirror each other. Flowers, hearts, airplanes, they all work.

This wasn’t revolutionary to me - symmetry makes sense with our brains and I play this game all the time. But then I thought I’d try writing with left and right hands going in the same direction at the same time. And bam, realized how easy it is. It seems that by writing at the same time with both hands, your brain is tricked into supplying coordination to your non-dominant hand.

To get the full effect try this:
1. First write your name with your off hand. It will most likely look like chicken scribble. This will be satisfying later.
2. Next write your name with both hands, same direction. This should be considerably easier than the first attempt (even Will, who is a skeptic about such experiments, was impressed by the change).
3. Now write your name with your off hand, while using a finger from your dominant hand to trace your name at the same time. You should still feel the benefit of the right hand coordination.

Wacky. Fun! Did it work for you? I am brainstorming how to adopt this trick into something more useful than party entertainment. Ideas welcome!

*Hole-punched book, bound by popsicle stick and rubber band - example here.

1 comment:

lizardek said...

I used to do stuff like that all the time, in junior high :) Fun! I'll have to try it with my kids, I bet they get a kick out of it!