Learning styles vary from child to child. For some children, kinaesthetic learning suits them best. But what is kinaesthetic learning, and how can you help your child learn in a way that best suits this style? Keep reading our kinaesthetic learning guide to find out more… 

Taking the time to understand how your child learns can really help set them up for success in school. Kinaesthetic learning is a bit of a more unique learning style compared to visual or auditory learning, so it can be a little challenging to adapt to this learning style. But with some kinaesthetic learning strategies in place, your child will have the tools they need to succeed in school. 

What is kinaesthetic learning?

Kinaesthetic learning is a bit of a unique learning style because it involves mixing learning with movement and tactile sensations. Learning through being able to get hands-on with a subject or object that your child is studying can also be really beneficial for children. 

Generally, kinaesthetic learners will need to be moving in some way while they learn, even if the subject itself isn’t physical. Without that movement or some kind of tactile sensation, kinaesthetic learners can struggle to retain information or recall it. 

How does kinaesthetic learning work?

If your child is a kinaesthetic learner, they’ll need to incorporate movement into their studying in some way. This can be something as simple as swinging their legs in their chair as they study. Kinaesthetic learners will be at their best actively taking part in something physical as part of their learning, rather than listening to someone talk about something or watching a demonstration. 

So, for a maths example of kinaesthetic learning – if you’re teaching your child about the value of money, it’s likely they’ll struggle to understand just by talking about it or even by writing things down. By using pretend money, like the kind you can find included in Monopoly, your child will have something physical to work with that’ll help them get their head around the concept much easier. There are so many great ways to make learning maths fun for kinaesthetic learners.  Essentially, if your child is a kinaesthetic learner they’ll need to incorporate some form of physical activity into their learning routine. That can either be something related to the subject they’re learning about, like the maths example above or trying to incorporate movement into their studying. 

Kinaesthetic learning styles and characteristics

Rather than reading or writing, kinaesthetic learners retain information by doing something or being active while they learn. If your child struggles with concentration when having to sit still to learn and is fond of physical activities, it’s likely that they’re a kinaesthetic learner. 

Here are some characteristics that are likely to indicate that your child is a kinaesthetic learner…

  • They struggle to sit still, even when they’re learning they need to move

  • Great coordination is something that comes naturally to them

  • They really enjoy sports and show a strong aptitude for physical education

  • Rather than writing about something, they might prefer to sketch what they’re learning about

  • They learn best with short bursts of intensive teaching and the opportunity to break up long periods of sitting

  • The best way for them to learn is to explore, get hands-on with something and possibly even take something apart to understand it

  • When they’re talking about something they can be really expressive “hand talkers”, relying a lot on gesticulation to tell the story

  • They love to build things.

Learning strategies for kinaesthetic learners

There are a few simple ways to help your child at school if they’re a kinaesthetic learner. It’s particularly important to teach your child a few strategies to learn at school, as classroom learning isn’t always easy for a kinaesthetic learner. Try these simple strategies if your child is struggling to retain learning in school…

  • Teach them to make small movements while they’re in the classroom that won’t be distracting to other students. Things like wrist and hand stretches between writing sentences or paragraphs, quietly tapping their feet or even just gently swaying their legs to keep moving while they learn. Try talking to their teacher to explain this strategy, so if their teacher does see these movements they understand this is a learning strategy.

  • Provide your child with a stress ball that they can take with them to school to incorporate some tactile sensation into their learning. Again, explain to their teacher that this is to help with their learning and isn’t just a toy to play with. 

  • Teach them to make flashcards for their notes, including diagrams, illustrations and graphs where possible. The hand movements that your child makes while writing and drawing can help the information sink in. 

Teaching tips for kinaesthetic learners in school or at home

When it comes to teaching a kinaesthetic learner, you need to consider ways to make learning more physical, involved and a little less abstract by giving children something to actually work with rather than just talking about examples. It’s also important to be really involved in your child’s learning, both in school and at home. 

Here are some tips to help with teaching and supporting a kinaesthetic learner…Communicate with their teacher

More so than other learning styles, classroom learning can be a little difficult for kinaesthetic learners if they have no kind of physical element to their studying. So talk to your child’s teacher and try to keep an open dialogue with them about what works for your child when they’re learning. Talk to them about your child’s learning strategies, and how they might need to do things like bring a stress ball to class so that they can have a tactile element in their learning. 

You could also talk to your child’s teacher about what they’ve found works. Your child’s teacher may have found a way to help your child retain learning that you hadn’t considered. You can also ensure there’s consistency in the way your child is learning both at home and in the classroom.

Let them take breaks

It’s important to understand that for a kinaesthetic learner, sitting still and reading or writing for long periods of time won’t help them retain learning in the long run. If your child is trying to do their homework, let them take short breaks so that they can recharge their attention and concentration span. 

Encourage them to do something physical for about 5-10 minutes for every half an hour of learning. This could be doing a jog or run, stretching, skipping or any physical activity that your child can enjoy in short bursts.

Teach them to visualise

Though they might not naturally be a visual learner, a lot of kinaesthetic learners can benefit from some visual learning techniques. When it’s not possible for them to get hands-on with a topic they’re learning about, try teaching your child to do their best to visualise something in their heads to represent that topic.  For example with maths problems that involve addition or subtraction, teach your child to visualise objects that represent the numbers in their working out.

Tuition and kinaesthetic learners

If your child is a kinaesthetic learner it’s possible they may have experienced some difficulty with learning in school. Teachers can’t always incorporate kinaesthetic learning methods into their lessons as class sizes and the topic or subject might prevent it from being practical.

That can mean that children that are kinaesthetic learners can struggle to retain the information they’ve been taught in class. This can make learning new topics and revising for exams a little difficult. This is where a tutor can come in to help teach your child some kinaesthetic learning strategies that they can take with them to the classroom. 

Our tutors will get to know how your child learns. They can incorporate kinaesthetic learning techniques to help your child better understand what they’re being taught both in their tutor sessions and in school. So if your child is a kinaesthetic learner and has struggled to retain information in school, why not try tuition as a way to help them develop learning strategies? 

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