Okay, I’m coming clean: I really don’t know my left from my right. I honestly don’t. When my husband asks which way he has to turn if we’re driving somewhere together, more often than not, I say, Turn right–I mean left–no, right! Brent, I’m soooo sorry.
The kids whoop it up like they’re on a roller coaster, hands waving in the air, but steam shoots out of my husband’s ears.
So I have made a commitment to myself and my children’s future spouses that they will know their left from their right even before they make it to elementary school. Or, at least that’s my goal. Luckily for everyone, there’s a tool out there that might save us all:
- LCR: Left, Center, Right is a dice game that is actually played by kids of all ages. It’s a very simple concept (again, something I wish I would have thought of first!) but so very valuable. Each player gets three tokens. The first person rolls the three dice and follows the directions on each die: for each number of L’s, C’s, or R’s rolled, that number of tokens goes to the person on the left, center, or right. If a person only has one or two tokens left, he rolls that number of dice. If you roll a black dot, you don’t do anything.
The person with the most tokens at the end wins the ones in the center. The fun, I think, is in what you choose to use as tokens. The set comes with plenty, but we’ve played with things like Hershey’s Kisses, crayons, Foamies (yes, Foamies!), and Matchbox cars. I know that the big, big kids (over gambling age, that is) find it more exciting to play with quarters or dollars.
However you choose to play, you can’t get by without knowing your left and right. It’s still difficult for Maddy and Owen (okay, and even me sometimes. . . ), but when they get stuck, we say, Okay, line up your dice. Tell me what you rolled. All right–L is for left. Which side is your left? If you need help, see if that hand makes an L, then tell me.
Or, we say, You have 2 R’s and a dot. R makes the rrrr sound. Does lllleft start with the rrrr sound, or does rrrright start with the ‘r’ sound? That’s correct! Hand over two tokens to Daddy, who’s on your rrrright. Varying the use of both techniques will cover two things–right and left directionality and R/L letter-sound correspondences.
We seem to be on a LCR kick right now. One morning, I found Owen sitting up in his bed with Blankie, Puppy, and Puppy’s Daddy all playing the game. I’m not totally sure how it was working out for them, but they each had tokens in front of them and the dice in the middle.
All the parts of this game fit snugly in its tiny plastic tube; it’s perfect for your purse or diaper bag and is a great way to pass time–and sneak in a little learning–just about anywhere.