Hands-On! Kinesthetic learners don’t want to sit still and read, or sit still and listen….they want to incorporate action into their learning experience. In fact, action actually enhances their learning experience, increases their ability to retain the information, as well as foster understanding of the material being presented.
Too often kinesthetic learners can be labeled ADHD in public schools, when they simply are striving to learn in a manner that compliments their style. Tapping on their desks, kicking the table leg, playing with their papers or books…these are all examples of actions of kinesthetic learners take to increase concentration and focus.
If you are not a kinesthetic learner yourself, it might be hard to believe your son or daughter is really listening to you or understanding that book they are reading, while simultaneously kicking their leg on the desk or tapping their pencil. While these actions could be major distractions to a visual or auditory learner, the kinesthetic learner needs them to help concentrate and focus. Creating and allowing a kinesthetic learning environment that utilizes these preferences instead of discouraging them greatly improves the level of comprehension and enjoyment by the student.
Here are some examples: switch from a hard desk chair to a bean bag or the floor when it is time for your child to read. Allow your child to read where they are comfortable, even if it means outside in your backyard, in the treehouse, or on the front porch. Let them use a squish-ball to play with in their hands while listening to you lecture, or while discussing a particular subject. Science is usually fascinating to the kinesthetic learner because of the experiements that they can do.
Another way to encourage the kinesthetic learner is to create work stations in your classroom/home for science, art, drama, history (doing dress up and reinactments), and phonics. Use manipulatives and materials that will utilize a hands-on approach to learning. Some options would be Montessori materials for younger students, or search for “educational manipulatives” on the internet. There are hands-on learning resources available that are marketed to public and private schools. Due to the nature of homeschooling, publishers who market to homeschoolers have discovered the importance of learning styles and have marketed specific books and curriculum as a result. Some examples of these curriculums and books are listed below.
There is a method of homeschooling called the notebook method. Some say this is an actual educational approach, but in my opinion, it is simply a method you can utilize within the framework of various educational approaches – for example, having a textbook or classical approach but using a notebook method for some of your subjects. This method involves the student preparing various notebooks for subject matter by collecting and compiling information. See my educational chart link to the right for a breakdown of how notebooking and other methods work into the various educational approaches and curriculum.
Curriculum/Resources for the Kinesthetic Learning Style:
Williamson has several titles and series for Kinesthetic Learning that are worth checking out for elementary students, although many are suitable for up to age 12. Series include KIDS CAN and Little Hands, and include arts and craft activities. Check out the various titles, they are always expanding and adding new things. Subjects include Science, Writing, Art, Cultural Awareness, History, Math and more! Don’t miss this series that is beautifully illustrated, whimsically written in a storytelling format, and full of ideas ready to incorporate into your teaching.
The Felt Source: Christian company providing flannel boards, fairy tale flannel boards, fingerplays, educational games, and much more.
Learning on Their Feet: a Sourcebook for Kinesthetic Learning Across the Curriculum K-8 is the first comprehensive resource on teaching body-based learning in four curriculum areas: Social Studies, Science, Math and Language Arts. As user-friendly as it is all encompassing, this dynamic sourcebook will give teachers K-8 a slew of practical lessons to lead their students out of their seats and into their smart bodies of knowledge.
The Private Eye: A fascinating and innovative approach to learning, using a loupe, totally focused on hands-on. Used in public schools and has become very popular! Check out their website for more information. Interdisciplinary (science, literature, math, etc. included)
Originally designed for students with learning disabilities or dyslexia, AVKO’s spelling program benefits kinesthetic and auditory learners by utilizing multi-sensory learning techniques. The spelling program involves using a dry-erase board and calling out words orally. Students spell the words orally, as well as write them down. This method of employing both a hands-on approach as well as speaking and listening reinforces the subject being learned. There is a workbook or textbook used with traditional test pages to use if you choose.
This is truly a find. Stuffed full of hands-on activities to encourage writing and enhance the writing experience, kids will love it! Some examples include: Mini Explorer Exploits where students make a mini-explorer for their backyard, and then write about their adventures; Triple Puzzler that uses stickers and pictures collected to create stories; Mystery Theatre involves collecting props and writing an actual play to perform. Many more innovative ideas engage kinesthetic learners in the creative writing process to produce amazing results!
WordPlay Cafe, A Williamson KIDS CAN! Book, by Michael Kline. Cool Codes and Phantastic Phonetic Phun! In the same series as Kid’s Write, this book is designed to introduce elementary students to the wonderful world of words. As with all books in this series, there are tons of hands-on activities that make this book fun. Much more than a textbook, this book really comes to life and could easily be used as a stand-alone curriculum for vocabulary or language arts.
Lewis & Clark Hands On Art and English Activities, by Sharon Jeffus. From Geography Matters, Lewis & Clark capture a special spot in American lore; spend a little extra time in your American history studies with this fun book of Art & English activities! Journal entries and a simple, chronological lesson with bolded vocabulary words, illustrations & photographs provide the framework for interspersed activities. Make a quill pen, write short character sketches, make a 3-D map, draw a portrait, and learn to draw plenty of scenes & animals.
Math-U-See is a wonderful program for kinesthetic learners, and would be considered textbook curriculum. Students use manipulatives to “build” their math problems. They have a free demo CD available and lots of online support for those who use their curriculum.
American History Detective
This book provides guidance (and reproducible props) to create 15 hands-on scenarios based on episodes or events in American History that student “detectives” can investigate – and learn from. Perfect for home or school, custom “Re-Created Historical Scene” tape lends an air of authenticity to your historical detective scene! The book includes historical background information, supporting content, follow-up activities, and easily reproducible investigation and activity sheets for students. This revised edition contains two new scenarios, one on the Mayflower, and one on the Underground Railroad. Elementary grades.
Lots of options in this series of books ranging from Colonial America and Pioneer Projects to Medieval Projects.
A Kaleidoscope Kids Book, Ancient Greece: 40 Hands On Activities to Experience this Wonderful Age, by Avery Hart and Paul Mantell. Tug the oars of exploration as you set sail for ancient Greece…– Become a philosopher, hold a symposium, dramatize the legend of the Trojan War, be a hero, write your own odyssey, draw a “Before You, After You” time line, make a gods’ and goddesses’ family tree, build an Ionic temple, make a Greek yo-yo, create a Greek-inspired hamster labyrinth, dress in a toga, and press olives with your toes! — Meet the Muses, Socrates, Alexander the Great, and the kid who discovered Troy when he was only 12! Along the way, visit the Island of Crete, the land of Mycenae, Mount Olympia, and the golden city of Athens. — Discover the mysteries and treasures of this land that built both bodies and brains. Learn why the ancients believed in the power of ordinary men and women, how the land shaped its people, and how its ideas of self-worth, self-responsibility, and self-rule changed life forever!
Hands on History Series: (Crabtree Publishing Company) Dress, Eat, Write, and Play like various ancient cultures. These books offer wonderful ideas to incorporate activities into learning. Examples would be making a pharoah’s crown or papyrus paper when learning about the ancient Egyptians. Titles in the series include the Ancient Egyptians, Vikings, Aztecs and Romans. Would work well with a chronological/classical educational approach since ancient history is typically not taught until students are older. These books are geared for the younger elementary, possibly up to age 10 or so. They have also expanded to include some science subjects. Searching on Amazon will give you an idea of all the titles available, then simply purchase what you need, or check your local library since most libraries carry these titles.
Ancient British History: This is a BBC website with PDF docs you can download with lots of hands on activities. Geared for elementary level.