9 Tips for Teaching Kinesthetic Learners

If you came to visit my classroom, you would quickly notice that kids are moving. They are moving all the time! My philosophy is that children need discovery, choice, movement, and great active learning.

Children who are kinesthetic learners learn best when they are moving, which can become a problem in classrooms where students are required to sit all day. Sitting still can be difficult for them, and they may get into trouble in class because they are constantly moving around or interacting with other students.  This disruptive behavior isn’t because these children are badly behaved or not as smart as their peers, it’s simply because these types of learners need to constantly be on the move.  By using techniques designed specifically for kinesthetic learners, you can help them learn more quickly and do better in school.

Talk to your child’s teacher.  Make sure that the teacher agrees that your child is a kinesthetic learner.  If you and the teacher are in agreement about how your child learns best, discuss options that will help her do better in school.  The teacher may have several suggestions, so let her explain what she can do, or already does, to accommodate the kinesthetic learners in her class.

Suggest that your child be allowed to stand.  Small changes such as standing instead of sitting can help your child focus better in class.  During a period where the teacher may be explaining something for an extended period of time see if the teacher will allow her to stand in the back of the room.

Provide manipulatives to use during math work.  When she can use her hands to touch and stack the manipulatives during a math lesson she will be better able to grasp the concept.  Using a visual aid helps visual learners in addition to kinesthetic ones, so it’s worth asking if your school can purchase manipulatives for the class.

See if your child can look at a map or globe during social studies.  By touching a map or a globe during a lesson that pertains to a specific area of the country or the world, a kinesthetic learner will be better able to understand the lesson.  Kinesthetic learners are also known as tactile learners because they learn best when they perform hands-on activities.  Social studies may not be the only time when a map or globe can be used, any subject where a particular location is mentioned would be an appropriate time to bring out a globe.

Do experiments at home to reinforce particular concepts.  With your teacher’s help you can do hands-on activities at home that will help reinforce what she is learning in school.  Many times the books that teachers use to make their lesson plan will include a hands-on experiment, however there may not be the time or budget for the teacher to do all of the experiments in class. Instead of skipping them all together, she can tell you what they are so that you can do them at home with your child.

Take a field trip.  Involve the whole family in the learning experience by taking a field trip to a place that ties into what your kinesthetic learner is doing in class.  For instance, if she is learning about ancient Egypt, take her to the museum and let her look at actual artifacts from Egypt.  When your child can walk around and see and touch items she will better understand what her teacher is talking about.

Help your child remember facts by doing role plays.  Act out a scene from her history lesson to help her understand and remember important facts or dates.  Role playing often works better than simply trying to memorize dates and names.  Combining the movement of acting with the facts that need to be remembered is a technique that can help your kinesthetic learner.

Play games on the computer for spelling.  Any time a kinesthetic learner can put what she’s heard into practice, she’ll be better able to learn and retain information.  There are many games available online that your child can play to practice spelling or math facts, so it’s beneficial to take advantage of these resources to help your child remember pertinent information.

Suggest that your child point to each word as she is reading.  She may not need to point to the words to be able to read them, but the action of pointing to each word will help her better comprehend what she is reading.  You can also have her read out loud while she is standing at the table.  Incorporating some kind of movement is often all it takes to make the information click for her.

These are just a few of the many ways that you can help your kinesthetic learner do better in school.  Make sure that your child takes frequent breaks while studying and encourage her to do jumping jacks or some other form of physical activity during her breaks.  These techniques will help her retain more of what she is learning, improve her ability to focus, and help her do better in school.