This is post #6 in our Summer Learning series.
If your child is a kinesthetic learner, he is among approximately 5% of the population. Although in the minority, it is a fun learning style and these people are the doers. They have to be doing something, moving around, and being active.
Kinesthetic or tactile learners retain information through various types of experiences and by actually doing things. The thought of sitting in a lecture listening to someone else talk is repulsive to kinesthetic learners. In those circumstances, they fidget or can’t sit still for long. They want to get up and move around.
How to best teach a Kinesthetic Learner
How to know if he/she is a Kinesthetic Learner:
Personality and learning traits:
- Learns best through movement
- Will focus on whole picture
- Learns best with 3-D / hands-on
- Needs to move while processing new information, but with very little external stimulation that would distract
- Needs to learn using hands-on activities to process learning
- Prefer making charts or posters for group projects to gathering the information
- Bore easily
- Is often highly intuitive
- Needs to physically process what he is learning
- Sensitive to the physical world around them
- Typically use larger hand gestures and body language to communicate.
Kinesthetic learners learn best through:
- Making things with their hands
- Using all their senses – sight, touch, taste, smell, hearing
- Hands on activities
- Small quizzes done by student pairs
- Being actively involved
- Feeling your enthusiasm
- Audience participation
- Field trips
- Trial and error
- Collections of rock types, plants, shells, and grasses
Ways to enhance learning:
Out of all of the learning styles, the child that learns through touch and by doing may prove to be the most difficult to teach because the crave movement, bore easily, and sometimes have difficulty learning in traditional ways. They have a desire to “do” in order to learn.
- Plan lessons and activities that allow for movement.
- A walk in the park to teach a science lesson.
- A walk around the neighborhood counting squares and circles to learn shapes or math.
- Utilize educational toys such as an abacus, models, and puzzles in your lessons.
- When teaching math, use manipulatives.
- When teaching letters and words, opt for wood blocks, letters, and cutouts.
- Encourage the child to role play with the information you are presenting to them.
- Allow the child to utilize a computer to learn skills and concepts.
- Allow the use of body movement to increase attention as they study, for example:
- Chew gum
- Tap foot or pencil
- Study in a rocking chair
- Use of a stand-up desk is often helpful. The act of standing while doing their work burns more energy than sitting.
- Look for participation activities with other students to enhance learning.
Techniques/Hobbies for Kinesthetic learners to try:
- Do It Yourself Activities
Careers for Kinesthetic Learners:
- General physical work
- Construction and repair work
- Sports and athletics
- Drama and dancing
- Physical Therapist
- Computer games designer
- Doctor of sports
- Forest ranger
- Personal trainer
- Phys Ed teacher
- Recreation specialist
- Yoga instructor
NOTE: One thing to remember about helping kinesthetic learners. While it is great to allow them to move to help their thinking, if all their practicing is done while moving, they will feel compelled to move during a test. This could create problems if the teacher does not understand or allow movement during exams. While it is wonderful to use strategies to support your child’s learning style, you need to help them strengthen the other ways of learning as well since they will be required to learn in all situations
We have investigated the three dominant learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. A person learns from all three of the various styles. Which learning style do you most closely associate with?
If you are unsure what type of learner you are you can take a little quiz, Learning Styles Quiz.
I also found a second quiz about Learning Styles which asks you questions about your study habits. The second quiz is great for upper elementary through high school. It also provides homework tips pertaining to your learning style once you have completed the quiz.
Be sure to check out the other posts in the Summer Learning series.