Get Students Moving and Learning with Kinesthetic Activities

Get Students Moving and Learning with Kinesthetic Activities

Posted by Sara Naff on Oct 31st 2023

With the weather shifting to cooler temperatures, most lessons and play time move indoors. Learn ways to incorporate active play into your kids’ daily routines year-round. Children will love these fun, movement-based learning activities (and you’ll love the new ways to keep students engaged!).

Group of preschool children waving their arms

Energize your classroom and set students up for academic success with active play and kinesthetic learning. Let’s walk through some easy ways you can incorporate movement into K-3 lessons to boost engagement, comprehension, and crucial development.

The Benefits of Kinesthetic Learning

Kinesthetic learning involves teaching concepts through physical activities and motion. This style of hands-on, full-body learning offers many benefits, including:

  • Improves focus and attention span
  • Provides outlet for wiggles
  • Engages multiple learning styles
  • Boosts information retention
  • Develops motor skills
  • Strengthens neural pathways
  • Builds classroom community

Simple Ways to Add Movement

Adding physical motion to your regular classroom activities is easy and rewarding! Here are some ideas:

During Circle Time

  • Do the Twist: Have students twist and turn to music.
  • Story Stretches: Act out story events with body movements.
  • Letter Actions: Assign a motion for each letter or sound.

For Transitions

  • Number Jumps: Jump corresponding times to transition.
  • Shape Poses: Shape body into squares, circles, triangles.

During Lessons

  • Vocabulary Charades: Act out vocabulary words.
  • Adjective Dance: Move to describe adjectives.
  • Sequence Stomp: Stomp out story sequence.

For Reviews

  • Mystery Motions: Use gestures to recall concepts.
  • Concept Connections: Link ideas with physical cues.
  • Math Equations: Use the body to form equation shapes.

Fun Ways to Build Skills

You can target specific skills with focused kinesthetic activities:

Develop Coordination

  • Toss and catch balls
  • Play pattycake games
  • Pull wagons

Improve Balance

  • Walk heel-to-toe in line
  • Balance on one foot
  • Cross-lateral marching

Cross the Midline

  • Jump rope
  • Hula hoops
  • Ribbon sticks

Build Strength

  • Crab walks
  • Wheelbarrow walking
  • Resistance bands

Purposeful movement promotes learning across subjects while energizing students' minds and bodies. Kinesthetic activities boost enjoyment, comprehension, and developmental growth. Get your students moving today!

Online Courses on Active Play

Looking for more insights into using kinesthetic activities in your early childhood classroom or childcare center? We offer online professional development courses that explore this topic in-depth. You can buy them individually or part of a package:

Active Play = Kinesthetic Learning

Learn to develop large motor group activities using fun classroom items such as bean bags, scarves, and paper plates. Learn more about this course.

Circle Time Isn't Just for Sitting

This course will give you creative and new ideas (and provide you with many resources!) that focus on themes and fun props to guarantee engagement and learning. Learn more about this course.

CDA Renewal Course Package - Preschool

This course package contains 45 hours of training that can be used for CDA Renewal in the Preschool area, including the above Active Play Kinesthetic Learning course as well as 20 others on a variety of subjects. View the course package.

Sara Naff headshot

Sara Naff is an early childhood education professional who has taught in the preschool classroom as well as adult learner environments. She is Director of Operations at AIR Childcare Training Solutions.