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Left and Right: Math Concepts in Preschool

written by: Jacqueline Chinappi • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 1/20/2012

Using a hand craft, a game, and other activities this article will help to teach the concept of left and right to preschool students.

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    Preschool Math Concepts

    One basic math concept preschoolers learn about is left and right. They learn right hand and left hand or left foot and right foot. How can we as teachers help to get this concept across to the children and make it easier for them to learn? Fun activities and games usually are the best way to approach learning when teaching younger children.

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    My Hand in Your Hand Friendship Bulletin Board Craft and Activity

    Materials Needed:

    • Construction paper
    • Markers or crayons
    • Scissors
    • Tape

    This is a fairly easy craft and activity for the children to do which simply consists of:

    • Child tracing both hands on construction paper.
    • Child (with help from teacher) labeling each hand with his or her name and whether it is the right or left hand. For instance “Jacquie’s left hand”.
    1. Have preschool students cut out the hands, teacher should help when necessary.
    2. Have each child hold the “hands” in the correct hand. So the left paper hand in left hand and right paper hand in right hand.
    3. Line up two lines of students facing each other.
    4. Call out two students names and ask for them to “shake paper hands” using left or right. Do this enough times for the concept of “left and right” to absorb, giving each child at least two chances on each hand.
    5. When the activity is over allow students to decorate their hands any way they wish. Realistic or fantasy-(Fingernails, rings, polka dots ,etc.)
    6. Teacher will collect hand and make a bulletin board showing the children’s hands shaking each other. On the bulletin board you may see “Jacquie’s left hand” shaking “Tom’s left hand”. Above each handshake the teacher could write Left or Right.
    7. This activity allows for some “hands on” experience with left and right. Not only will the children be experiencing shaking hand using left and right, but the class will say each time “Left hands” or “Right hands”. The activity allows for multiple styles of learning. The bulletin board can be used as a re-teaching tool at anytime.
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    The Hokey Pokey

    Having children dance the Hokey Pokey in the classroom not only proves to be a fun physical activity but also proves to be a rewarding and educational game. Without even knowing the child is learning his or her left from their right, the concept will come naturally and many preschoolers may already know this game.

    Don’t stop at putting your left hand and right hand in to the circle for this game, try other body parts as well such as :

    • Elbows
    • Ears
    • Knees
    • Feet
    • Arms

    The children will have fun with these activities as well as work on their coordination skills and basic motor development skills. These basic math activities will surely be the hit of the day while learning about right hand and left hand.