Kinesthetic learning is a multi-sensory approach to learning. It connects physical activity to the process of learning and requires manipulation of objects or touching materials to learn. It could include creative movement, building and crafting.
Why is Kinesthetic Learning Important?
When Kinesthetic learning is utilized, it increased the acquisition of skills such as geometric shape identification or math (Batt, 2009), vocabulary (Skoning, Wegner, & Mason-Williams, 2017), emotional intelligence (Hazizah, & Aulia, 2020), and beginning reading (Martinen, 2008). It can be used to incorporate learning of multiple concepts and information. It also allows learners to learn a variety of intelligences at once such as kinesthetic intelligence, emotional intelligence, spatial intelligence, logical-mathematical intelligence (Skoning, Wegner, & Mason-Williams, 2017; Hazizah, & Aulia, 2020).
Ways to Incorporate Kinesthetic Learning
Use Movement Games
Any game to get a child up and moving could be turned into a learning game that will be more memorable. Playing hot potato can easily be turned into an educational game by replacing a “potato” with a crayon or shape or letter. Anything that the person left with it then must name what it is. Hopscotch could easily be turned into an educational game by having the children jump on letters or shapes that they then must name. Take the children outside and play duck duck goose to teach self-regulation skills and how to pay attention. Red light, green light could be played to teach executive functioning skills. Even go “dumpster” diving with a giant old box filled with hidden treasures to be found in recycled materials – it could make a great environmental lesson. Whatever it is you choose, get the children involved in some jump learning games to get them out of their seat to learn.
Add a Tune to a Concept: Use Music
Integrating music into learning can be an easy way to get children up and moving while memorizing words to songs that help with learning. Have children sing the alphabet song while creating the letters with their body or sing the ‘Hokey Pokey’ to learn right from left. ‘Head Shoulders Knees and Toes’ is another to learn body parts. Whatever the learning activity, you can always think of a song that could make learning easier and that could involve some type of movement. Chances there are and chances that you can easily find and incorporate it into your lesson.
Role-playing can get children involved in the whole body, kinesthetic learning through pretending. When you are teaching about animals, have the children role-play animals and even dress up. Children could even act out being the teacher to recreate what they just learned. Setting books for children to act out reading is a way to get their whole bodies and minds involved in emergent literacy. Have a dress-up area set up so that new items and outfits can be easily switched out to incorporate whatever learning is happening that month or week for children to then practice what they learned.
Hands-on Sensory Play
Touch and feel learning can be great with many types of concepts, especially numbers and letters. Shaving cream sensory spelling is another way to incorporate hands-on learning. Have the children trace letters or words with shaving cream mixed in food coloring. Have children mold numbers out of playdoh or pipe cleaners. If your class loves cars, have letters cut out of black construction paper for them to zoom their little vehicles on. Felt number or letter boards is another fuzzy fun way to practice their ABCs, writing their name, or constructing small words.
Experience Curriculum is filled with movement, music, and sensory experiences.