Kinesthetic learners are no less likely to be successful in school than any other type of learners. However, they can sometimes feel like a fish-out-of-water compared to their more auditory or logical peers. This is a crucial time to engage (or re-engage) your child in learning, and support their own way of doing so! To foster both learning and self esteem, give some of these activities a try:
- Fraction Fun: Fractions can trip up the smartest of middle schoolers. Help your child’s mental math with fractions while enjoying the spoils of her labor: Choose a favorite cookie or cake recipe. Have your child double it, or make 1½ times the recipe. How much of the math can they do in their heads?
- Play board games: Games like Scrabble®, Dictionary®, Taboo®, and Ka-Ching!® get your child thinking and learning while having the flexibility to stand, walk around, or integrate moving into learning.
- Make it real: Go with your middle schooler’s interest and build everyday academic skills into her passions. For example, if your child is a swimmer, have her convert her yard times to meters to decide what races she wants to swim in various pools. Compute differences in batting averages to determine when a slump may have begun, or signs that it is ending, etc.
- Give your active learner the opportunity to make things, build things, destroy things, explore things, discover things, fix things, grow things, operate things, and raise things. What those things are is less important than the desire and motivation that comes from getting invested in the process, and the outcome. The learning will happen along the way!
- Balloon Review: Help your child study for a test by hitting around a balloon. You can use ping-pong paddles, or simply try and keep the balloon in the air. The catch? With each hit she needs to say a formula, give you a definition, or spell a word aloud.
- While many schools no longer use manipulatives with older learners, there’s no reason to deny your kinesthetic child access to tools they might benefit from. http://nlvm.usu.edu/en/nav/grade_g_3.html
- Go big with an outdoor board game with you and your child as the playing pieces! In a large area, outline the board in chalk or with tape. “Write with chalk on most of squares, putting formulas your child needs to know or math equations they might be working on. Be sure to have a few squares say, “move ahead 3,” or, “lose a turn.” Use dice, a spinner, or simply draw from a deck of cards to dictate how many spaces to move.
- For some fun online resources for Athlete/Actor/Surgeon children, check out some of these:
- Try out Choose Your Own Adventure. While your child may not literally be acting these out, the adventures they take her on may engage her just the same:
- Be a Roman Sleuth: History, reading, and thinking: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/romans/launch_gms_deathrome.shtml
- Tales of 20th Century London: http://www.talesoflondon.org.uk/?PHPSESSID=ac9af1988b28086211bb5aff4a52a2ad
- Jamestown CYOA: http://www.historyglobe.com/jamestown/popupwindow.html
- Medieval Game of Life: Can you survive life in Medieval times?: http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/Explore-online/Games/GamesIntroductions/The+Medieval+Game+of+Life+Introduction.htm
- Klondike: The rush for gold: Become a Gold Rusher heading for the Yukon: http://www.museevirtuel-virtualmuseum.ca/sgc-cms/expositions-exhibitions/klondike/English/main.html
- Life or death: Three settings, three stories in this series: http://dsc.discovery.com/survival/games/life-death-jungle/life-death-jungle.html; http://dsc.discovery.com/survival/games/life-death-snow/life-death-snow.html; http://dsc.discovery.com/survival/games/life-death-sea/life-death-sea.html
- Your child’s interest in movement and action can lead the way into more “traditional” learning as well. For exammple, build a city of the future by classifying words in a series, using context cues http://www.sadlier-oxford.com/phonics/5_6/future_city/futurecity.htm or have your child discover the Hero’s Journey: http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/herosjourney/heros_journey.html
- Foster divergent thinking: Games like Magic Pen support divergent problem solving: http://www.coolmath-games.com/0-magic-pen/index.html.
- Take advantage of sites destined to engage all kinds of learners, such as the Catch the Science Bug site: http://www.sciencebug.org/ or http://nrich.maths.org/stemnrich.