After years of struggling with getting my kindergartners to learn their left versus their right, I finally found the answer! It's a double whammy, too, because it is something that I use as a reward for my students as well.
I have to give a shout out to my best kindergarten colleague Stephanie for originally introducing me to "smellies"(Thanks Mrs. S!). "Smellies" are simply chapsticks that come in all different flavors, colors, and smells that you swipe on your students hand as a reward. I use them EVERY day at the beginning of the school year to encourage my students to follow the right method of packing up and getting ready to go home at the end of the day. If they do what they need to (and they all do, of course!), they get a "smelly" on the top of their (here's where the teaching begins) right hand.
The rule in my room is that smellies can only go on right hands. If you do this every day at the beginning of the year for, let's say, 3 weeks, the students really begin to know which hand to give you for their smelly. They've learned their right and, inadvertently, their left as well! It is so funny to watch them as the year goes on figuring out left from right by putting their right hand up to their mouth to "sniff" it. Almost all of my kinders will know their left from right when they leave my classroom and it's all thanks to the "smellies".
Other ways to use smellies for children of different ages include potty training, test taking, a calming mechanism, a distraction for anxious children, proper audience behaviors and more! If you can think of other ways to use smellies, please feel free to comment below!
It also makes a great gift for teachers (think end of the year!), child care providers and home schoolers! It's the gift that keeps on giving.