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How to teach a Kinesthetic Learner

What is a kinesthetic learner? How do you know if you have one? And for heavens sake, how do you TEACH one!?!???!?! I’m going to walk you through everything you need to know about homeschooling a kinesthetic learner.

How to Teach a Kinesthetic Learner and my Top 10 Resource Picks to Help!

What IS a kinesthetic learner?

Wikipedia defines a kinesthetic learner as follows:

According to the theory of learning styles, students who have a predominantly kinesthetic style are thought to be discovery learners: they have realization through doing, rather than thinking before initiating action. They may struggle to learn by reading or listening.

Think hands on, doers, action, touching everything, physical (roughhousing, cuddly, physical love language), etc.

How do I know if my child is a kinesthetic learner?

First, stop what you’re doing and head over to take the Learning Style Quiz. I designed this quiz to approach learning both in AND out of the classroom. It’s only 10 questions and you can do it for yourself, for all your children, etc. and see whether you have a kinesthetic learner or not.

Once you have taken the test, you can confirm your findings by asking yourself a few questions about your child. Ask yourself if your child meets the definition or characteristics of a kinesthetic learner above.

If so, CONGRATULATIONS! You have a kinesthetic learner on your hands!

Top 10 Resources for Teaching a Kinesthetic Learner

So now that you know you have a kinesthetic learner, how do you teach them??? As the proud parent of a left handed, right brained, kinesthetic, out of the box kinda gal… I have come up with my top, MUST HAVE resources to surviving the exuberance of my little hands on tactile learner.

1. A Reason for Science Complete Homeschool Kit.
For the majority of kinesthetic learners, bookwork is highly frustrating for them (and you). If your child is predomenantly kinesthetic and you are using workbooks, you may need to reassess your approach. Your learner is out of the box and you’re going to have to be too! Instead of doing a science curriculum with reading and writing, find experiments, go on a nature walk, head to the zoo or science center, get OUT and moving. Check out the A Reason for Science Curriculum from Christianbook.com! It is one of my favs for kinesthetic learners, still incorporating some bookwork, but it comes with an entire kit with everything you need for hands on activities for each lesson!

2. Handwriting Without Tears.
If you haven’t heard of Handwriting Without Tears the time has come to check them out. For very early elementary, this program SAVED me with Selah. Instead of just copywork that bored her to literal tears, she was building letters with playdough, creating them out of wooden sticks, writing them on a chalkboard and more! Handwriting Without Tears made writing fun for her and taught her proper technique at the same time. I have a lot of love for this inexpensive, affordable product!

3. All About Reading/All About Spelling.
This program is one of the most comprehensive I have come across. It is detailed, thorough, in depth and covers ALL your basics for teaching reading and spelling skills, but it is built for tactile learners! Is that possible????? YES!

Interactive Picture Books
4. Math U See.
Math U See is a hands on math program that is PERFECT for kinesthetic learners. The program uses video lessons, bookwork, and block manipulatives. This program has been highly effective for my daughter who has to TOUCH it, move it, feel it for it to make sense. Working with blocks which are all different colors for added sensory stimulation, allows her to build the problem rather than just hear or see it. It is well worth the money to invest in the blocks, and then you have it for life. Read my full review here.

5. Snap Circuits.
Oh my goodness, we JUST bought this set this year and I had no idea what we were missing out on! Snap circuits are fantastic! They are a great hands on way to learn about electrical circuits, but something about snapping those pieces together just “clicks” for tactile learners (pun intended). My kids ALL love this set and it is well worth the money!

6. Ball Chair.
Okay, you may think me nuts… but let me tell you about the ball chair. There are going to be many times in your child’s life where there is just no way around sitting and listening. Instead of feeling like they are going to lose their mind, try something like this. The ball chair allows them to bounce and move while they sit and often, they are able to concentrate on a lesson even when presented in a different form than their prominent learning style!



*These are expensive, so check out this awesome alternative my sister suggested… Buy some workout bands and tie them tightly around two legs of a chair right at the height of your child’s feet. They can bounce their feet while they sit!*

7. Fidgets are you Friend!
What is a fidget??? A fidget is a little handheld thing your child can play with while they are working on the more monotonous aspects of education such as bookwork or reading. It just keeps their hands moving and since implementing them I am noticing a shocking improvement in ALL my kids’ concentration. Honestly, no matter what your childs’ learning style, I highly recommend purchasing some fidgets. They are inexpensive and fun for kids and really help reduce frustration!

8. Sand Tray!
Sand trays are AMAZING if your child is in early elementary. They can be used for so many things and I found this beautiful Montessori tray on Amazon for only $42. We have done rice in a tray as well, beads even. But I find that sand works the best and I love how this one has the little “eraser bar”.

9. LEGO!
Lego is a homeschool moms best friend! The uses for it are ENDLESS! You can use it as math manipulatives, science, socials, art, and more! It is a staple in our school room and hours a day are spent building and creating with Lego.



10. Hands On Learning Resources.

My favorite place to go for hands on fun is Learning Resources. Activities such as this Hundreds Activity Mat to help with math. Or this fantastic Gears building set.

The key is to find what works for your child’s age and interests and just run with it!

Have FUN with your Kinesthetic Learner!

In the end, yes, a kinesthetic learner can be more work, especially if that is not your learning style at all. Traditional school often doesn’t relate to them and it can be VERY frustrating when you are teaching the basic fundamentals such as reading and writing.

I encourage you to get creative, think outside the box, get those hands on resources that make learning fun and just go with it! Experiment with some of these strategies and let me know what works for you! As a homeschool mom to my own kinesthetic learner, I am always on the prowl for more ideas to add to my arsenal.

What is your favorite resource for teaching a kinesthetic learner?

Comments

    • I would NEVER have bought snap circuits before my sister in law told me about them. He will play with it for HOURS! It really is fun and they learn SO MUCH through it! Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

  1. This is a valuable post filled with lots of practical advice to help out a fellow homeschooling parent. Thanks for sharing these ideas. I am definitely interested in the ball chair for both my kids and myself.

      • Hi, I just found your blog today. I recently found out that my 11 year old is a tactile learner. I have heard of the ball chair, but for some reason, my son sits and does everything on my yoga ball. Yoga balls usually come in a variety of sizes, but may not be suitable for very young ones.

      • Until we were able to purchase the Ball Chairs for our girls, as there are expensive, we bought yoga/exercise balls for them as they are affordable.

      • Hi, an alternative to the actual ball chair. You can buy a regular exercise ball, smaller one for smaller kids. then use a paper plate with raised edges and set the ball in the plate. The plate keeps it from rolling away and gives a bit of stability. The child has their feet on the floor and can move all directions and bounce.

  2. What a great post, Rebecca! Thanks for all the wonderful ideas! I have a few kinesthetic learners and we do try a few of these, but you’ve given me some great new tips. I’m definitely going to look into those Snap Circuits. They look like so much fun!

    • Thanks Tammy! Educents has them right now, but shipping for most things to Canada is INSANE! πŸ˜‰ Sigh. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment πŸ™‚

  3. Do you have any secular recommendations for science? We are doing real science odyssey and I’m not sure if it’s hands on enough for my ADHD, SPD, kinesthetic learner. I myself am a visual learner and an aspie so it’s hard for me to tell sometimes if what we’re doing is enough for her. It feels like we spend a LOT of time staring at workbooks, but I really do try to get the hands on stuff and I thought I was doing okay. But school is taking us well over 3 hours for second grade, lots of it at the desk. Any advice?

    • My favorite science program is Nancy Larson Science, it is secular and amazing! Comes with everything you need. https://homeschoolon.com/easiest-science-program-nancy-larson-science/ (where you can read more). However, that being said, we ARE talking about a kinesthetic learner and this one has reading and concentrated lessons. For a secular science program that would be good for a kinesthetic learner, I would probably honestly not go with a set curriculum as much as some stem hands on kits like this one: http://amzn.to/1Lk4q9j. Costco has some great ones as well. There are so many fun, hands on science things out there and they are way more enjoyable for kinesthetic learners! Hopefully that helps! Thanks for stopping by and reading my post! πŸ™‚

  4. I am so thankful that I stumbled across your blog. This post has helped me understand much of why I have been struggling with my 9 year old son. Been homeschooling for under a year and feel I have so much to learn.
    Thank you πŸ™‚

  5. We use Hot Dots workbooks and Vocabulary cards because of the little pen that helps them to check their answers. My daughter is very visual and yet extremely wiggly and she loves this system.

  6. Hi! These are great ideas! I have been home-schooling for nearly 13 years and have a hands-on learner. Most of your ideas we use on a daily basis, but I thought I would add a few things that helps me. First, if you go to hopballs.com, you will find very inexpensive jumping balls of every size. This is the only chair he owns at his table area. He bounces and wiggles to his heart’s content! I also set up a nerf indoor hoop by the white erase board where he shoots hoops while going over his spelling words, definitions, etc. When doing math drills (flash cards), we are on the hopball while I toss another ball( those soft ones they have at any toy section) to him after giving him his next multiplication problem. I use the Sonlight curriculum for science and Horizons/Math -u-see for Math. Sonlight have everything included and many experiments. Horizons also sends many manipulatives. I also found for reading different books, that lapbooks help with the fidgets. Homeschoolshare.com has free downloads of every kind of lapbook and subject for those hands-on kiddos! I hope this helps! Have a wonderful day!

  7. I am looking at homeschooling for the first time, but my kids are older…..7th, 9th and 11th grades….I say homeschool, but my oldest will likely do online schooling. my other too need a mix of hands on learning and auditory learning. do you have any suggestions?

  8. So thankful I found your post on Pinterest! Very helpful! I’m in my first year of homeschooling my Kindergartener and we are beyond frustrated! I started with Heart of Dakota Cirriculum which I love (because I like worksheets and it’s all planned out for me.) but my son hates doing school now. I’ve been using Singapore math and everything else that comes with the set. A lot of worksheets and reading to him and he is not interested. So I’m going to switch it up and try some of the things you’ve suggested. Thank you!!

  9. I am homeschooling my 6 1/2 year old granddaughter, and just took your quiz. Found out she is a Kinesthetic learner. I feel like I just wasted a whole lot of money on curriculum for her. And, so now I feel like I need to get her stuff that will work for her. But what do you do for History?

  10. I enjoyed the quiz! I always knew my son (3 years old) is a hands-on learner. My husband is, too. After a rough day with my son today, this quiz reminded me that my son is very special and I need to educate myself more on how to educate him. I love the tips and the resource guides you’ve provided. Thank you!

  11. This is SO helpful! I’m starting to homeschool my 4 year old son for preschool. This totally makes sense why he doesn’t want to do workbooks and make crafts, swim and play in nature all day so he can touch and feel EVERYTHING. Any suggestions on a Pre-K curriculum?

  12. Thank you for this post.
    I’m just starting this brand new homeschooling adventure with my daughter. She wasn’t doing well in school… in fact the teachers would tell me that she was the worst… the one who was falling behind. It broke my heart.
    Later on I found out that she is in fact a kinesthetic child… now I’m reading all I can about it… trying to be more creative.
    The advices that you give are great!!! Thank you!!!

  13. I have a son going into 7th grade and we are just starting homeschool. Suggestions on cirriculums for k learning with jr high?

    • I just asked this, too! Has your son been struggling in traditional school? I am considering bringing my son home but feel a bit overwhelmed to do so at this grade level.

  14. Do you have any suggestions for visual and auditory learners? Teaching science to a visual learner is fairly easy because I come equipped with flashcards and colors too. Same goes for history.
    But how do you manage to teach subjects like English language arts and PE to visual learners? Also how do you teach geography lessons to auditory
    learners?
    And any helpful advice and tips on making the whole curriculum accessible for hands on learners will be appreciated thank you.

  15. Hi! Do you happen to have any suggestions for middle school learners? We are familiar with many of the listed items and used when younger. Thanks for your thorough and helpful posts!

  16. I have a question about the “Handwriting Without Tears” kit. How does making letters out of dough teach kids to write neatly with a pencil, or does it? I’m not criticizing here; I just need to see a clear connection between the two activities before spending any money. My 6-year-old knows all the letters, upper and lower-case, including their sounds, and can write them, but has a terrible time writing them neatly, often even legibly. His homework keeps coming back red-marked like crazy. I’ve found he is definitely a kinesthetic learner. Thanks πŸ™‚

  17. I needs this post! I have a kinsthetoc learner who is almost 12, and school has been a teeth-and-nails right for years. I admitted a couple months ago that what we were doing was NOT working and was not good for our mother-child relationship, so I broke down and did what I’ve always said I would never do: I bought workbooks so my kid could get done with the IMPORTANT subjects quickly and go on to the β€œfun stuff.” It has bought me some time so I can research a new approach for the next school year. I LOVE the resources you have here and will be looking into them! I feel it’s SO MUCH HARDER to deal with an older kinesthetic learner than a younger one. Do you have any suggestions/experience for junior high kinesthetic learning?

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