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5 Ways to Teach a Kinesthetic Learner

November 15, 2017

Kinesthetic learners are often called hands-on learners. These are children who like to do things physically to help them learn. Most often, people think of kinesthetic learners as requiring an experiment or activity that uses their hands. But it is much more than that. Kinesthetic learners don’t simply need to use their hands. They need to use their bodies. They need to be physical. If you have a kinesthetic learner or are looking for kinesthetic strategies to use as part of multisensory approach, these five ideas will help. 


1. Hold it. Whenever possible, allow kinesthetic learners to hold and manipulate things. This can include typing on a computer, taking something apart and putting it back together, or even just holding something and feeling it.


2. Fidget. Kinesthetic learners don’t have to have their movement directly related to what they’re learning. It can help them to just be able to fidget and move while learning. Fidget spinners and cubes help as well as rolling, spinning chairs and even allowing your child to move around the room while you teach.

3. Role play. Kinesthetic learners may find role playing helpful to for specific subjects like history and language arts. Acting out what they have read or learned is a great way for these children to show what they have learned while they move their whole bodies.

4. Recreate it. Kinesthetic learners enjoy recreating what they have learned through a physical representation. Paint it, mold it, build it, type it...whatever your child prefers.

5. Use manipulatives. For math, use a variety of manipulatives to help your children master new skills. Programs such as Touch Math and Math U See include great tactile strategies. For language arts, use paper rather than digital texts, encourage highlighting and doodling, and have students write on dry erase boards allowing them to stand up, write larger, and move around the room.

Kinesthetic learners are typically good at sports and the arts. They have good eye-hand coordination and move frequently. This doesn’t mean that they have ADHD or that they are hyperactive at all. They enjoy learning when they get to stand, act, move, and doodle. If you have a kinesthetic learner, don’t be surprised if they seem like they’re not paying attention when they really are.  

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