What’s the big deal about kinesthetic learning?
“What if my child is a visual or auditory learner? Can’t I just skip the ‘hands-on’ part of our lessons?”
Many people believe that adding kinesthetic (or hands-on) activities to a lesson is all about making learning fun. While making learning fun isn’t a bad thing, it’s not the most important reason to add kinesthetic activities to your lessons.
Another common misconception is that your child has one main learning style and that you should always use instructional methods and activities that focus on that style. Following this logic, many people assume that if their child isn’t a kinesthetic learner, they don’t need kinesthetic activities.
So why include them?
When I developed the All About Learning Press programs, I knew I needed to create reading and spelling programs that would be effective for children with a variety of learning styles. Children learn best when they are taught through a variety of “pathways” to the brain simultaneously. This concept, known as Simultaneous Multisensory Instruction (SMI), is a much more effective method of teaching children than methods that focus on only one learning style.
Is your child primarily a visual learner? Though he may learn best with visual activities, providing him with kinesthetic and auditory activities alongside the visual activities will provide him with the most effective learning opportunities. Is your child primarily a kinesthetic learner? He still needs auditory and visual activities to learn best.
Kinesthetic activities help ingrain learning into the long-term memory by turning a lesson into an experience. When a child is engaged in a kinesthetic activity, he is moving and touching and interacting with his lesson in a physical way. And a great side benefit is that kinesthetic learning IS fun.
For example, your child can manipulate letters, phonograms, and words using the colored letter tiles included in our program. But even if you want to create some of your own ideas, kinesthetic activities rarely require major effort on a parent’s part.
Hands-on activities often require no advanced preparation and no (or minimal) materials. An effective spelling activity can be as simple as writing letters in the air or tapping out syllables on a kitchen counter—no materials required! As you teach, think about how you can physically involve your child in the lesson using materials you already have around your house. Start in your kitchen pantry. Do you have elbow noodles? Rice? Pudding? Tactile activities don’t have to be expensive to be effective. Shaving cream and liquid soap can be wonderful mediums for getting little hands involved in the learning process.
Do you have a hands-on activity that your child loves to do? I’d love to hear about it!
Photo credit: Carisa at 1+1+1=1