Also known as “body smart”, learners who enjoy using a kinesthetic multiple intelligence lens process information best through hands-on activities. These kids just naturally learn better by involving muscular movement–e.g. getting up and moving around into the learning experience–and are generally good at physical activities such as sports or dance. When presented with a challenge in a weaker area of the multiple intelligences, encourage your child to think about activities or ways that can link these weak areas to their strongest multiple intelligences.
Parents and extracurricular mentors that “think” like your body smart child can help them start to approach school in general from an experiential tact. For instance, taking a hands-on approach where a seed is first planted and they water it and watch it go through the lifecycle stages in order to help them better understand botany in a context that comes naturally to them.
Recommended Extracurriculars for Body Smart Kids
Obvious extracurricular choices for learners who enjoy flexing their kinesthetic multiple intelligence “mind muscles” include all types of sports—team and individual, martial arts, water sports, and dance. But, fine motor skills also fall into this particular multiple intelligence, so don’t negate activities like piano, sewing, etc.
This being said, each person has the ability to develop all eight multiple intelligences so even if your child is strongly kinesthetic, don’t fall into the trap of focusing all of your energies in one area of the multiple intelligences and excluding the others. Rather, use your child’s innate strengths (most likely more than solely kinesthetic multiple intelligence!) to approach challenges they may be having in weaker areas so that you can more effectively nurture a “whole” child.
Be sure to get a feel for how your child feels about a class you’ve selected for them by tuning into their spirit before and after class. They should have incredible energy, a positive attitude, a “present” focus (living in the moment), and a high level of self-esteem when talking about the class. If the class is not a good match for them, you’ll find more than just a resistance to go…your child will be irritable, make physical complaints or be asocial. They’ll drag their feet to go and be the first one out the door after the class is finished. If the teacher will allow it, it’s a great idea to audit the class with your child prior to enrolling—and pay attention to more than just what happens in the class…be aware of how your child is feeling and acting both before and after it.
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Descriptions of each MI type have been excerpted from Wikipedia definitions.
Recommendations for difference in approach to subjects your child finds challenging in a traditional curriculum: Gardner, et. Al.,Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons in Theory and Practice. (2006). Basic Books.
Extracurricular recommendations have been extrapolated from Thomas Armstrong’s large body of work, specifically In Their Own Way. (2000). New York: Penguin Putnam.