Quick Tips for Teaching Kids Left & Right

Look left, look right, look left again. Everyone knows this all-important road-crossing rule as it's taught to us from an early age, from the moment we first learn to cross the road to kindergarten. However, in order to understand this important lesson, our kids must be able to distinguish their left from their right long before formal education even starts.

While left and right may seem simple to adults, it takes time and practice for young kids to master this concept. Today’s Piper Finn blog provides five quick parent tips for teaching young kids their left from their right that are both fun and easy to implement.

Top 5 Parent Tips for Teaching Kids Left and Right

  1. Use Body Awareness Activities

Engaging kids in activities that involve awareness of their own body parts can help them differentiate between their left and right. One fun exercise is the "Hokey Pokey," where kids learn to place their left and right limbs in the right direction by following the lyrics. Other activities include drawing left and right hands or feet, mirror activities, and imitating movements with the opposite hand or foot.

  1. Use Visual Cues

Using visual cues such as stickers or colored patches can also help kids quickly identify their left from their right. You can place a colored sticker or sew a brightly colored patch on the left side of their clothing. This visual reminder will help kids quickly recognize their left and right. Our personal favorite is to stick a small sticker on one of your kids shoes to help them easily identify either their right or left foot. Naturally, their left or right hand is on the same side, making it easy to figure out which is which! You can use both girls and boys shoes as teaching aids when teaching children their left from their right.

  1. Practice with Reflections

You can teach kids their left from their right by using reflections in mirrors or other reflective surfaces. Stand with your child in front of a mirror and let them raise their left or right hand, then mimic what they do. This activity reinforces the concept of their left and right, and they can see the image of their body mirrored correctly.

  1. Make It a Game

Scientific study has shown that kids learn when playing. So it makes sense to incorporate games when teaching them their left from right; remember to make the process fun and engaging. For example, you can play games where you call out different directions and have the child raise their left or right hand or foot. You can also play games that involve movement, like "Simon Says," helping them associate actions with their left or right.

  1. Make It Part of Your Daily Routine

Make teaching left and right part of your daily routine with activities that you do regularly. Ask your child to hand you objects with their left or right hand, or have them put things down on the left or right side of the table. This daily practice will reinforce their understanding and make the concept part of their long-term memory.

Final Thoughts 

Teaching young kids their left from their right is a foundational skill that will help them master other cognitive tasks as they grow. Whether you use body awareness activities, visual cues, reflection, games or daily routines, repeated practice and creativity are key to helping children master this essential skill.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay