(“Tactile” has to do with receptors on the skin – touching and feeling texture, shape, etc. “Kinesthetic” has to do with registering body movement.)
“Most of the school population excels through kinesthetic means: touching, feeling, experiencing the material at hand. “Children enter kindergarten as kinesthetic and tactual learners, moving and touching everything as they learn. By second or third grade, some students have become visual learners. During the late elementary years some students, primarily females, become auditory learners. Yet, many adults, especially males, maintain kinesthetic and tactual strengths throughout their lives."
(Teaching Secondary Students Through Their Individual Learning Styles, Rita Stafford and Kenneth J. Dunn; Allyn and Bacon, 1993)
Does your child like to:
These active children are often labeled with ADHD, but reality is that they learn through movement, and activity helps them think and process. When their attention begins to wander, rather than trying to force them to sit quietly, let them get some exercise and then they can come back and refocus on their task.
Some children who are kinesthetic might focus more effectively in school if they are allowed to stand up by their desk as they work (rather than sitting still), if they can manipulate objects as they are working, and if they are encouraged to draw pictures or charts and graphs of what they are learning. Many older kinesthetic children will doodle and take notes as they are listening in order to improve their focus and comprehension. Their focus will be closely tied to what their hands and bodies are doing.
Considering that all very young children are kinesthetic learners, it follows that we should move away from verbal instruction, memorization of facts, formulas, procedures, words as primary means of teaching.
Children have an inner sense of the types of movements their brain and body need and we need to make sure they have ample opportunity to:
Most children today don’t get the opportunities they need to move in these non-structured ways. Playing an organized sport provides exercise, but the types of movements listed above literally help with physical development and with neural organization. This type of movement actually helps children think better!
So put away the electronics and get your child outside for some good free play with friends!