Hand preference can begin as early as 18 months but usually develops around the ages of 3 or 4. Some children do not develop dominance until as late as 6 or 7. Determining hand dominance, and encouraging the use of the dominant hand, helps children to develop speed and accuracy with fine motor activities, especially handwriting.

Activities you can do with your child to observe for hand preference

  • Bean bag toss
  • Catch/throw a small ball
  • Close eyes and stick out one hand
  • Draw “Lazy-8s” on a whiteboard/blackboard
  • Cut with scissors
  • Color on a small piece of paper
  • Draw a person
  • Place Cheerios in a vertical line on a table at child’s midline and have him eat them as fast as he can by bringing them to his mouth one by one
  • Wind-up toys
  • Screw lid off and on a jar
  • Lacing board activity
  • Type name on keyboard
  • Handwriting

Note: It is important to place objects directly in front of your child and encourage him to complete the task with the hand he started with. Do not hand materials to him. Observe for crossing midline or shifting items to one side in order to complete the activity.

Did you know that in addition to hand dominance, we also have eye, ear, and foot dominance? We generally prefer the same hand as eye, ear, and foot. So here are a few other activities you can do with your child to check right or left preference:

Eye Dominance

  • Look through a kaleidoscope or empty tube
  • Wink

Ear Dominance

  • Listen to a seashell
  • Listen through a wall

Foot Dominance

  • Step on coins placed in midline
  • Drop and kick a ball

    About Skills 4 Life:

    Skills 4 Life Pediatric Occupational Therapy offers a broad range of pediatric occupational therapy services to help your child master age-appropriate developmental skills, become more independent, increase academic success & develop confidence. The experts at Skills 4 Life specialize in handwriting, keyboarding & executive function coaching, but also work with children on social & emotional learning, motor skills, self-regulation strategies & activities of daily living. Skills 4 Life Pediatric Occupational Therapy offers your child a safe, compassionate environment to learn the critical skills they need to be successful. Learn more about our team & services at www.skills4lifeot.com, or you can contact our office by email at karina@skills4lifeot.com or by phone at 303.351.1828 for a free consultation.

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