My 4.5-year-old daughter intermittently gets confused about which hand is right versus left. Interestingly, she has no trouble with reading and matching the words “left” and “right” to 左 (zuǒ) and 右 (yòu). Although left and right confusion can be normal until around age 6, you can still teach laterality in fun ways to toddlers. Some ways that you can teach left versus right include:
- Forming an “L” with the left index finger and thumb. This is effective if your child knows letters and doesn’t reverse them.
- Going outdoors to play and jump on footprints labeled with 左 (zuǒ / left) and 右 (yòu / right)
- Focusing on naming the dominant hand and asking your child to do things with that hand (eg, “Can you draw with your right hand?”).
Another fun way to teach left versus right is with stickers and hands! Last year, my daughter and I made felt hands for skip counting practice. Since they took some effort to cut, I was very excited about repurposing them for this hand learning activity! I’m excited to share this fun, hands-on learning activity with you!
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- 左 (zuǒ / left)
- 右 (yòu / right)
- 手 (shǒu / hand)
- 手指 (shǒuzhǐ / fingers)
- 数 / 數 (shǔ / count)
- 让我们一起数 / 數 (Ràng wǒmen yīqǐ shǔ / Let us count together)
What you need:
- Felt – Although you could use construction paper, I wanted the hands to be durable so I could reuse them for future teaching.
- We used stiff felt for durability, but just be aware that your wrist may get sore as I experienced from cutting. You may want to consider soft felt instead!
- We used colorful felt so that each pair of hands were a certain color and therefore associated with groups of 10s. However, you could make each felt hand the same color if you prefer
- Black marker
- Dot stickers – We love Avery and Neon Labels
- A pair of cute child hands 🙂
Please see this post for more details of the set up process.
How to learn left versus right with stickers and felt hands
- Trace each pair of hands 10 times (10 x 10 = 100 fingers!)
- Cut hand shapes
- Write 左 and 右 on the dot stickers
- You can affix stickers to your child’s hands to serve a reference.
- Learning activities:
- Match left and right.
- Mix up the hands and match the above left and right words to other languages (eg English, Korean)
After the activity, both of my children had fun pretending to “High Five” the colorful hands! My 20-month-old son thinks the hands are so exciting excitedly said “High five 手 (hand)! Whooaaa 手!” 😂The activity ended with the kids high-fiving the hands and then hiding them in random parts of the play area 😆 .
If your child has fun learning how to count with Counting Felt Hands, please let us know! Leave a comment and don’t forget to tag @CHALKAcademy on Instagram and Facebook! We love to see how other families do Chinese activities!
Related Chinese learning activities for kids
All hands-on activities are organized by topic in this link. What has been your favorite activity so far?
Happy learning, friends!