Young children learn abstract concepts, like distinguishing left from right, much more readily when the learning is active, engaging and playful.
This activity, we’re calling it Fancy Footwork, engaged and motivated Immy by being fun, active and interesting. It provided opportunity for her to apply her own knowledge and understanding to extend the activity and challenge herself further (and others as well – yes, she had both Dad 101 and I playing along and my parents when they came to visit). The auditory element of chanting or calling out the footwork patterns also helped to reinforce the learning taking place.
Here’s how we played our left and right game, Fancy Footwork…
I made our footprint shapes by tracing around one of Immy’s sandals to make a template. I then cut out ten red right feet and ten green left feet, labelled each left or right with a permanent marker, and laminated them.
To start off, I stuck the footprints to the floor using loops of masking tape, arranging them in a formation of single left or right feet (hops) interspersed with two feet grouped together (jumps). Immy had fun hopping and jumping her way through the arrangement, calling out ‘left,’ ‘right’ or ‘jump’ as she went.
You have to concentrate or you might wobble and wibble and lose your balance!
After several times through the arrangement, I suggested we change the formation. Immy really enjoyed challenging herself with different combinations of hops and jumps, mixing up the distances between the footsteps too.
She even got really tricky, swapping left and right to create a crossover jump challenge!
We also had fun forming dance routines like this one – you start with two feet in the middle of the first row and start the dance stepping forward left/right, then backwards left right, then extend the left foot out to the outer left footprint, then tap the right foot in place. Next move the left foot to the middle left and finish with the right foot tapping the outer right. Lots of thought and concentration went into completing that one each time!
This activity was lots of fun and I can see us revisiting it regularly.
What games or activities have you used to teach your child to distinguish left from right?