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Teaching Left, Right and In Between

Updated on September 14, 2014

Teaching Spacial and Directional Concepts LEFT and RIGHT to Kids at Home

One of the many spacial and directional concepts that children must grasp before moving on to first grade math, is left, right and in between. You can use the steps below to review the concepts with your child to ensure they have a grasp on them. Some kids struggle with learning left and right, so there are detailed activities, games and tips for teaching kids struggling with this concept.

Image by HSSchulte

Yarn on Wrist
Yarn on Wrist

Activities to Learn Left and Right

Teaching Left and Right through Games and Activities

Begin by standing behind the child, facing the same direction. Tie a piece of yarn to their right wrist and explain to them that this is their right hand. Allow them to tie a piece of yarn to your right wrist. Face your child and shake their hand. Explain to them that you are both shaking hands with your right hand. Make sure they understand the yarn is on their right hand and they shake with their right hand.

Allow the child to wear the yarn throughout the day, periodically ask them to identify their right hand. In the following days, they can also try to remind themselves of which hand is the right hand by identifying which hand they shake with, or place on their heart during the pledge of allegiance. If the child happens to be right handed, you could mention that it is the hand they write with as well. Focus on the right hand only in the beginning, so as not to cause confusion.

Left and Right on YouTube

The "hokey pokey" is a classic way to teach left and right to kids. They will get practice putting their "left hand in" and their "right hand in" to reinforce the concept while dancing along and having fun!

Leaf Mosaic of Hand Outline
Leaf Mosaic of Hand Outline

More Activities to Learn Left and Right

Teaching Left and Right with Pictures

Help the child trace their left and right hands on to two separate pieces of paper. Label the paper with the words "left," and "right." Ask the child to color the right hand red and the left hand blue.

Place the pictures on a coffee table, ask the child to place the picture of his right hand on the right side of the table. Ask him to place the picture of his left hand on the left side of the table. Place a picture of a star, moon, or something else in the middle. Tell the child that picture is "in between" the right and left.

Simon Says to Teach Left and Right

Play a game of Simon Says with the child, asking them to raise their right hand, left hand, stomp with their right foot, left foot, etc. until your child learns to recognize left and right automatically through fun exposure to the concepts.

Left and Right
Left and Right

Labeling a Child's Hands with Left and Right for Visual Learners

More Activities to Teach Left and Right

Because left and right can be a difficult concept for kids to grasp, you can also consider labeling the child's hands with the words left and right. Make the L and the R in each word large. After you have written the word on their hands, you can show them that if they raise the index finger and the thumb on the left hand, it makes an L like the first letter in the word "Left" that is printed on their hand. This is not the case if they raise the index finger and thumb on the right hand because this "L" appears backwards to them. Now that they have the words left and right represented on their hands, ask them throughout the day if they can guess the left and right hands. If they are incorrect, do not worry, simply suggest the correct answer and keep working at it in a subtle, relaxed fashion.

Kids Marching
Kids Marching

Marching with Your Child to Learn Left and Right

March to Teach Kids Left and Right

Here is another activity that comes in handy to teach kids the concept of left and right. Line up in a line, of two, or more people. Tell the kids that you are going to march. March together saying, "left! right! left! right!" to identify the foot you are raising. Keep practicing!

Left and Right Worksheets

Free Worksheets from Enchanted Learning.com

Free Worksheets to Practice Left and Right with Kids

Comments on Teaching Left and Right

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    • NeenaShiju profile image

      Mrs. Neena Shiju 3 years ago from Thrissur

      good for kids

    • CruiseReady profile image

      CruiseReady 5 years ago from East Central Florida

      I STILL get left and right confused!