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16 Characteristics of Kinesthetic and Tactile Learners

by Sarah K Major February 04, 2016 14 Comments

16 Characteristics of Kinesthetic and Tactile Learners

Kinesthetic and tactile learners are children who need body movement and hands-on work. They are often labeled as dyslexic, ADD, and ADHD.  Is this your child?

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Kinesthetic Learners need to move

1. Kinesthetic learners need to move. They wiggle, tap, swing their legs, bounce, and often just can’t seem to sit still. They learn through their bodies and their sense of touch.

2. They have excellent “physical” memory – they learn quickly and permanently what they DO as they are learning.

3. Kinesthetic Leaners are often gifted in athletics, dancing, and other physical activities.

4. They are generally very coordinated and have an excellent sense of their body in space and of body timing. They have great hand-eye coordination and quick reactions.

Tactile Learners need hands-on

5. Tactile learners are closely related to kinesthetic learners. The tactile style is more moderate involving fine motor movements rather than whole body movement.

6. They learn primarily through the sense of touch.

7. They learn best through hands-on activities.

8. They express their learning best with projects they make such as mini-books, games, dioramas, skits, model making, building blocks, art materials, math manipulatives, and so forth.

Kinesthetic & tactile learners in the classroom

9. Kinesthetic & tactile learners have trouble sitting still.

TIP: Let them move! If you tell them they can stand up, swing their legs, or even pace the floor as long as they are not disrupting the other students, their performance will improve.

10. Kinesthetic & tactile learners lose interest quickly.

TIP: Use novelty and change where you teach a lesson in order to help break up long periods of time when the students would be sitting in their desks.

11. Kinesthetic & tactile learners have difficulty learning steps and procedures.

TIP: Teach kinesthetic learners to visualize themselves doing what they are learning. If you are teaching them steps for solving a problem, have them go inside their imaginations and “see” themselves following the steps.

12. Kinesthetic & tactile learners are easily distracted by their environment.

TIP: Their attention follows their hands. Teach them draw sketches or diagrams of what they are hearing in a lesson, or when doing a sheet of math problems, teach them to point to each problem they come to. Let them use flashcards with information they are learning.

Helping kinesthetic learners focus

13. Kinesthetic & tactile children can become overwhelmed.

TIP: Teach them to use deep breathing and purposeful relaxation to help with focus.

14. Kinesthetic & tactile children tend not to be auditory learners.

TIP: Information they learned via body movement is stored in the brain and if the child repeats that movement, it will not only help them focus but will also help them remember what they learned.

15. Kinesthetic & tactile learners need manipulatives.

TIP: They will focus more easily if they have objects to manipulate instead of always using pencil and paper. They will remember what they work out with their own hands.

16. Kinesthetic & tactile learner’s attention tends to wander.

TIP: Kinesthetic and tactile learners can capture content that is embedded in a picture instantly. The image grabs their attention and the visual brain snaps a picture and stores it instantly. The related body motion is crucial because this is the kinesthetic and tactile child’s primary learning strength.


Here is a resource that is designed specifically for kinesthetic/tactile and visual learners

Teach sight words to kinesthetic learners


Try SnapWords® with your child for free, and see what happens when a resource matches a child's learning strengths.


SnapWords® are sight words in pictures with related body motions.





Our Mission

Our mission is to inspire children to Love Learning. We accomplish this by designing unique learning resources that engage and stimulate the whole brain via elements such as images, body motions, and stories.

Our Resources

Child1st products were designed specifically for kinesthetic, tactile, and visual learners. Every resource relies on tactile and kinesthetic strategies, visuals, and story elements that create a comprehensive learning experience.

Learning will be so much easier for your child, but the experience of teaching will be so much easier for you, too! You won’t have to create opportunities for movement and hands-on activities because the resources are designed to include these strategies.

Use Alphabet resources to teach letters and sounds.
Use the Right-Brained Math Series to teach number sense and math concepts.
Use the Easy-for-Me™ Reading program to teach reading from Kindergarten through 2nd Grade.



eave a comment. What are your child's learning strengths?

Sarah K Major
Sarah K Major


Sarah's absolute belief in every child’s ability to learn, and her passion to empower the child by supporting his/her own unique giftedness have fueled her life’s work and provided a new pathway for children to succeed academically.

14 Responses

Deborah Cranston
Deborah Cranston

April 21, 2017

I used to run workshops for primary schools as a 3D story teller. The method I devised was based on the way I believed memorising was best achieved by the majority of young children.
I had the children sit in a large circle on the floor with me the storyteller in the middle, along with several tins of coloured felt tips. The children were all given paper and invited to draw whatever came into their heads while I was telling the story. For some, to make a picture they could be pleased with was the most important goal but for many, the idea as I explained it to them, that they could draw just colour or shape depending on what the story said to them, worked well. The next part of the workshop was for the children to recall different elements in the story. For some it was a moment experienced by a character but for others it was a `dark forest` or a `big storm`. or a `grand ball`. Many of the children had excellent recall of the story and detail within it. I believed the physical activity of drawing strengthened their retentive memories.

I did not know about kinaesthetic learning at the time but I`m delighted to know that I was `on the ball.`

Though as a child my reports always said I should try harder, Dyslexia, which I now realise I suffer from, was unknow in the `50`s.


April 20, 2017

As far as movement goes, it does helpe learn, think and be more aware. In my personal experience, what I have noticed that really helps me make leaps and bounds in processing is walking a new ‘path’ with unusual obstacles. This may relate to traveling as well. Probably like most people, usually when I go for walks, I go to the same places. But one time my car was in the shop and was required to walk an unusual path/route with a lot of unusual obstacles. It was in a strange, hidden location, was unusually winding, had over grown bushes making the sidewalk difficult to walk and and finally I saw mice! It was also located in this incredibly unusual area. It seems like the metaphor of walking or treading a ‘new path’ had the affect of me ‘treading new paths’ mentally and psychologicaly as well. I walk all the time in the same places and walking the same route just doesn’t have this affect on me.

Though it might seem hard and perhaps unethical to replicate walking a new, unusual path with new and unusual/unlikely objects works wonders on me. My path was urban/city/ industrial, not out in nature where I usually walk. Nature walks might help some. It is relaxing, reviving and calming where as my urban path was something entirely different.


April 20, 2017

After reading the other comments I want to add that I was very drawn to dance and movement such as gymnastics as a young child. I remember thinking the ‘Solid Gold’ dancers from the 70’s or
80’s musical TV show and believing they were real life goddesses. And I remember being so inspired by the gold medal Olympic winner Nadia of the 1980’s and more recently Simone Biles.

My sister studied ballet and I probably picked up a lot from watching her recitals and from being around her and her dance groove. I didn’t start studying dance or acting until I was in my early twenties. And when I did it was belly dance. I also did improv acting and traditional acting classes.

I had wanted to teach dance but the world doesn’t always work out the way we plan.


April 20, 2017

I have read that people’s learning styles are flexible and can change throughout one’s life. We have a primary learning style and a close second. For example, I believe my primary learning style is kinetic and my second strongest learning style is listening/auditory. All of our learning styles including visual learning and reading/writing are always a part of us. Though I rely on kintecism and listening for learning I also use my visual learning and reading/writing abilities as well.

As I mentioned, your learning styles’ can change throughout your life. As I have gotten older my kineticsm has grown stronger. I’ve read that men are usually the only strong kinetics but I disagree. Im as kinetic as they come and I’m a woman.

Only in recent years have I heard about students who are labeled as “bad” because of their learning styles. I didn’t experience any difficulty sitting still in class or for long periods of time in school or now.

But I do have a few concentration issues. In college I did poorly in the few night classes I took. I mostly took classes during the day. Concentrating at night, most likely when I was more tired proved to be too difficult for me. Day classes were fine. I had no concentration issue with them.

But college was a long time ago for me. And as I have not been in college and my kineticism has grown stronger, my spelling has become autrocious. I often have to spell check every paragraph I write for errors. In these days of social media and commenting, having to spell check constantly is an extreme time hinderance. My spelling is terrible. It has gotten worse as I have become older (40’s). One time I was writing a blog and was writing and publishing up to five pages a day for around a week. My spelling improved during this time, so its possible this kinetic dfficulty might be over come with a lot of practice. This spelling issue might have to do with how kinetics process things. And it might have an emotional component to it because its my spelling in English that is terrible. But I know a little Spanish and I spell perfectly in Spanish without errors. I’m always appalled to see incorrect spelling in Spanish.

In the past I studied dance and acting, without realizing these were the best forms of learning for me.

Now I am working in technology. I have had a lot of difficulty learning WordPress through online video classes. In person workshops and podcasts on WordPress help me more, with the in-person workshops helping the most. Learrning WordPress may be another caveat of being kinetic. I have taken other online coding classes via video and I learned the material very easily, so it seems like its just WordPress that has proven difficult for me.

Regardless of these minor concentration issues, being kinetic is the greatest. Other learning styles are missing out. I wouldn’t trade my kineticism for the world.

I also wanted to mention that museums are awesome for kinetics. We love objects!!! Objects are how we learn! I once went to a technology museum in Northern, CA. I learned so much.

maryam othman
maryam othman

February 19, 2017

Thank God for this, i never knew i had a kenesthetic learner, at 2 and a half years she could destroy and fix objects, she is so smart and fast in doing so, she never sits still always told to get off things, she likes gathering objects and building them up wether bangles, containers, shoes etc. she is now four and a half, whenever i want to teach her elder sister something like sewing, before her elder sister grabs what am teaching, my kenetic daughter has already done it without me teaching her and i used to think my eldest daughter was the smart one because she is good in memorizing. i now plan to homeschool them God’s Willing cos i need to give them the attention they need.
Thank u so much for this vital info

Serdar Öz
Serdar Öz

February 07, 2017

im a programmer and i work in office.when i wil learn i cant move to much. So i learning by taking note.


January 24, 2017


Tom Sanchez
Tom Sanchez

January 12, 2017

Hi there I’m a 51 year old single father I am the one that has this learning set back I find law to be of great interest. If it I true as said never to old to learn. I do hope you can give me some helpful information. Thank you Mr. T. Sanchez


November 05, 2016

Very interesting & shed more light on kinesthetic&tactile

Rhiannon johnson
Rhiannon johnson

September 12, 2016

I need to move to learn


August 11, 2016

It is very interesting


May 20, 2016

I was a quiet student who could never sit still (I was always getting told off for this).

No one had ever heard of kinesthetic whilst I was at school. I wanted to be a dancer; copying the dancers from Top of The Pops, but I never had any encouragement from anyone to get into dancing.

I now work in an office and find it completely mind numbingly dull. This is the job that I was told to avoid (when I had a personality test two years ago).

I just wish I had the support when I was a child to do what I really wanted to do.

It’s too late now… But I still “Love To Boogie” :-)

Tanya Dixon
Tanya Dixon

May 02, 2016

Very helpful. I agree, especially about Tactile learning. I knew my learning style was “different”, but couldn’t put a finger on it. I always ended up creating my own curriculum; modifying each assignment so that it would accommodate my unique way of learning. Not only did it cause me to retain information at a higher level, it gave me a boost of confidence , and caused me to see I COULD learn, but in my own way. I have strong kinesthetic traits, dancing, choreography, love of movement, so is it possible to be a 60/40 of each?

cece nevarez
cece nevarez

April 18, 2016

your article is very informative I have so many questions can you e mail me. I have told her case manager and councilor that she is a kenitic learner and she is still expected to sit still in class she cant figure out math for nothing help

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