Southpaws for Effect

A picture of a toddler excited about Lefthanders Day

International Lefthanders Day is next Tuesday, August 13. We’ve got fun ways for your kids to get a ‘handle’ on what life is like on the opposite side.

International Lefthanders Day. We promise we’re not making it up. Celebrated annually on the 13th of August, it was initially commemorated in 1976 by the Founder of Lefthanders International Incorporated, Dean R. Campbell.

It rose to greater prominence in 1992 when the official Lefthanders Club—which has over 140,000 members worldwide—observed the day so that lefthanders everywhere could “celebrate their sinistrality and increase public awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of being left-handed.”

A picture of a funny lefthanders joke.
Image: lefthandersday dot com

Feeling a little left out?

You’ve probably never put a lot of thought into why you’re righthanded or lefthanded, but according to research, an astonishing 85–90% of people favour the right side.

Is this because humans always want to be right? Possibly.

But the more accurate reason is that it’s actually determined while we’re still in the womb. The tendency for people to be righthanded is because of our reliance on communication: “our right hand is controlled by the left hemisphere of the brain which is responsible for speech and writing.”

That’s how it’s been for a long, long time. But, who knows, with the prevalence of devices these days that could all change. So much of our interaction is non-verbal (texting) and so little of our writing does not favour a hand (also texting), that maybe evolution will start to even things out and throw a few more lefties into the mix.

A funny gifImage: giphy

Famous lefthanders

There’s no shortage of people who have made a pretty good ‘fist’ of things if they favour their left. Here are just a few of our favourites:

Drew Barrymore
We really hope it wasn’t the fact she was a southpaw that made her an outcast who’d Never Been Kissed, or why she had to be offed in Scream.

Lewis Carroll
The author of one of the greatest children’s books of all time, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is a lefthander. This probably explains why the book is so left-of-centre … and amazing!

Angelina Jolie
Given how many adopted kids she is constantly juggling, she’s probably good with both hands—but the left is her favoured.

Barack Obama
He’s the only former President cool enough to pull off a mic drop—which he actually did at his final White House Correspondents’ Dinner! Careful observers will note it was with his left hand.

Julia Roberts
We’re not sure if being lefthanded is what made her a Pretty Woman, but it probably helped with her sleight of hand in Ocean’s Eleven.


Keep to the left

Wondering how you can turn Lefthanders Day into something you can do with the kids? Well, we have the perfect idea for you: switch hands!

Pick an activity and get them to try it with their non-dominant hand. They’ll have to really focus on doing something that had previously been entirely natural, making it the perfect thinking exercise. Even try it yourself and you can have a great laugh together seeing just how tricky it is. Here are just a few things you can experiment with:

Drawing, painting and colouring

It’s best to start off with something they probably already love doing. Whether it’s drawing pictures, painting artwork, or just simple colouring—what they’ll come up with using their opposite hand will be pretty compelling.

Our only word of warning is to make sure you’re doing this somewhere out of the way. You may encounter an even bigger mess than usual when their control and dexterity go out the window!

Ball games

If your kids are old enough to have started learning some sports or ball games, then get them to try throwing, hitting or catching with the opposite hand to the one they’ve been favouring.

It’s the sort of activity that will hopefully make them concentrate just that little bit harder; then they’ll start to really understand concepts like hand-eye coordination, timing and technique.

But be careful with little sports stars who have only just started to get the hang of games; you’d hate the inevitable difficulty of using a non-dominant hand to dent their confidence.

Puzzles and activities

Whatever your kids like to do, by simply adding this new dimension will make it fascinating to see what ensues.

Whether it’s doing a jigsaw, playing with LEGO, stacking blocks, making things out of Play-Doh, cooking, playing a board game—or anything in between—there will be new, challenging and fun elements that come from the task’s increased degree of difficulty.


Nothing but leftovers

And there you have it! While lefthanders probably won’t want ‘righties’ encroaching on their day, we can all find a way to enjoy it!

Do one of the activities we’ve mentioned, come up with your own—or if you’re feeling particularly game—try something as revolutionary as getting them to help with the chores with their other hand!

If you don’t have much time on the left or right clock hands (see what we did there), even just sitting with them for a few spare minutes to learn about some of the famous lefthanders throughout history will be interesting … and educational!

So, this Lefthanders Day go ahead and enjoy life on the flipside!

A close-up picture of a baby's left hand


Got any other great suggestions for how to celebrate International Lefthanders Day? Then let us know in the comment section below!