Identifying Undercover Kinesthetic Learners

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It is easy to pick out a kid who needs a wiggle break. He or she tends to roll around, shout out, or seemingly vibrate right off rug! We tend talk a lot about those kids while failing to mention those other kids… the ones who learn better when they are moving, kinesthetic learners.

When kids are still too young to express it themselves, they may want to engage in learning, but seem to be “checked out” from time to time. Yet, when you put something in front of them that they can touch, they are instantly engaged! Or if there is a game, they are active, playing and enjoying. Yet, they seem flat when you try to have a conversation with them. Or during reading time, you can tell they are only half listening. Sometimes, these kids might even be a puddle on the rug. They lay down not to be rude, but because sitting up and listening is really not their thing. It’s unfortunate, but sometimes we fail to see who needs to wiggle aside from the wigglers…

As students get older the hands-on fun of learning often starts to taper off. We expect kids to learn more from pictures, videos, listening, or by reading. We must realize it’s not one size fits all… kinesthetic learners need to be able to move while they learn.

One way I check this is by having students act out a nonfiction text. My favorite is the way a frog watches and catches a fly. We look back and forth as though there is a fly buzzing around our head. Then we snap out our arm and pretend to grab the fly and eat it. While that sounds like fun (and it is), I am watching for the kids who respond to this story that aren’t usually moving (or wiggling) while I read. These are the kids I want to ensure are moving more. They are my kinesthetic learners.

If you use GoNoodle

  • Blazer Fresh is a channel on GoNoodle that shows you how to get kids moving to a concept.
  • Mr.Catman is a channel on GoNoodle that is especially great for crossing the midline activities.
  • There is also Body Spell, which is a GoNoodle Plus exclusive.

I would love to hear how you get to know your kids’ learning styles!

Shelby is an elementary teacher with experience in kindergarten, first, second, third, and fourth grade. 

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