Handedness plays an essential role in children’s motor development. It is through this ability that they learn to coordinate their movements and use their hands efficiently. In early childhood education, it is important to provide opportunities for children to explore and develop their handedness, thus promoting healthy growth of their motor, cognitive, and emotional skills.
In this article, we will explain what handedness is, its importance in early childhood education, and present practical activities to stimulate this skill.
What is Handedness?
Handedness refers to the preference for one side of the body over the other. It is not limited to the dominant hand but also involves children’s spatial and body perception. It is through handedness that they distinguish left from right, developing an understanding of their own body in space.
In early childhood education, handedness plays an important role in children’s overall development. By stimulating handedness, we are promoting the improvement of their fine and gross motor skills, as well as their motor coordination and balance. In addition, handedness activities contribute to the development of language, logical reasoning, and visual perception.
Thinking about the holistic development of children, we have selected some activities that aim to stimulate handedness and motor coordination through fun and educational games.
3 handedness activities
Around the ages of 2 to 4 years old, most children begin to discover which hand they prefer to use. Usually, by the age of 5, they have established their dominant hand and supportive hand.
If a child has not yet determined whether they are right-handed or left-handed and continues to switch hands during daily activities, it is important to avoid forcing them to use only one hand. Instead, we can observe them and encourage their participation in handedness activities.
Below, we have provided some handedness activities that are available on the Kinedu app. Check them out!
1. Hand painting
- Non-toxic children’s paint in various colors
- Plates or other containers to hold the paint
How to do it
For this activity, place a piece of cardboard on a table and arrange various colors of paint in separate plates. Ask the children to dip their right hand in one color of paint and press it onto the cardboard. Then, ask them to repeat the process with their left hand using another color of paint. This activity stimulates handedness as children use each hand separately to create their artwork.
2. Obstacle Maze
- Items that can serve as obstacles (chairs, tables, toys)
How to do it
For this activity, provide a space in the place for children to play and create an obstacle maze on the floor. Ask the children to navigate the maze by walking or jumping, alternating between using their right foot and left foot to go around the obstacles. This activity stimulates handedness as children need to coordinate their foot movements and identify which foot to use to overcome each obstacle in the maze.
3. My First Scissors!
- Plastic scissors
How to do it
Distribute playdough and show how to make balls by rolling it between their hands. Then, ask to flatten the playdough balls on the table. Show them the plastic scissors and how to cut the playdough before handing out the scissors to the students and demonstrating how to hold them correctly. Assist them in moving their fingers to cut the playdough. The objective of this activity is not to cut the playdough correctly, but rather to introduce the concept of cutting and work on the firmness of holding the scissors.
This activity stimulates handedness through coordinated hand use, promoting bilateral coordination and strengthening the hand muscles, which are essential for the development of motor skills.
Stimulating handedness in early childhood is essential for children’s motor and cognitive development. By offering activities that promote motor coordination and spatial perception, we are contributing to their healthy and global growth.
Now that you know some handedness activities, download the Kinedu app and transform your days with fun and educational activities!