Body Smarts: How to Add Kinesthetic Learning Activities to the School Day

4 min to read
Body Smarts: Family Adding Kinesthetic Learning Activity to the School Day

Sitting still for long periods of time isn’t easy, especially for students. If your child gets restless during lessons and starts tapping their foot or twirling a pencil, suggesting that they sit still probably won’t help. Instead, it’s time to take a break and get moving!

Taking breaks and staying active is important for creating a healthy, productive school week. Physical activity clears the mind, relieves grogginess and tension, and encourages relaxation. It’s especially important for students who prefer to be active or, as psychologist Howard Gardner theorized, have outstanding “kinesthetic intelligence.”

What Is Kinesthetic Intelligence?

Kinesthetic intelligence, which can also be referred to as “body smarts,” is a way of processing and conveying information in which the individual feels most comfortable using the body or hands. Body smarts are most often expressed in “specific physical skills such as coordination, balance, dexterity, strength, flexibility, and speed,” according to Paradigm Education Solutions.

How to Identify Body-Smart Students

Students who excel in “body smarts” process information best through touch and movement. A “body smart” child might seem to be in constant motion—tapping a foot, stretching their arms, or moving their shoulders and neck while reading or typing. These students may favor activities such as team or individual sports, martial arts, playing a musical instrument, or acting and dancing. 

Students with strong body smarts often show good fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, which is evident in activities such as writing by hand, working with clay, and playing catch. They also show good gross motor skills, which involve the large muscle groups that control walking, running, and sitting and standing well. These traits show in a person’s agility, balance, athleticism, and body control.

Even if your child doesn’t gravitate toward hands-on or physical activities, you should still incorporate them into their routine. Learning to use a variety of methods can keep children interested and hone both their physical and mental skills.

Benefits of Kinesthetic Learning Activities

Kinesthetic learning for kids offers many unique benefits that can help with growth and development. According to the National Math Foundation, kinesthetic learning activities are known to: 

  • encourage physical activity and coordination
  • bolster cognitive, social, and emotional development
  • enhance the brain’s capacity to retain information
  • develop individual capabilities and strengths
  • improve self-confidence

Kinesthetic Learning Activities for Body-Smart Students

Looking for ways to get your child moving throughout the day? Use the resources below to find new bodily kinesthetic activities to exercise the body as well as the brain. 

  • Do sensory integration activities. Bodily kinesthetic activities that stimulate the senses are great for your child’s development. Besides aiding in kinesthetic learning, sensory activities also improve cognitive skills.
  • Combine fitness and learning. Exercise sends more oxygen to the brain, which helps students think.
  • Have your child use a stability ball instead of a chair for short periods of time to improve balance, posture, and upper-body strength. 
  • Create a plan for your child to stay healthy and active. Work with your child to add sports and other exercise to their schedule, remembering to keep it fun.
  • In the winter, students can go outside and build snow sculptures, make snowmen, and help shovel the snow off the walkway.
  • Start a family fitness challenge. Get the whole family involved in the new fitness plan, whether it’s by holding indoor scavenger hunts or creating your own unique activities.
  • Do indoor physical education activities between lessons. Fun indoor activities for grades K–5 and 6–12 can keep your child busy all year long, no matter what the weather is.
A child builds a model as part of a bodily kinesthetic activity.

Hands-on Clubs

Another way for your child to get active and tap into the benefits of bodily kinesthetic activities is to join a Connections Academy club. Some of the online school clubs that appeal to kinesthetic learners include:

  • Sports Club
  • Theater Arts Club
  • Robotics Club
  • Environmental Club
  • Art Club

Once you make your child’s school schedule more active, consider building their word smarts, self-smarts, or another one of Gardner’s multiple intelligences.

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