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Tactile Discovery for Children

Kinaesthetic learning or tactile learning is a style in which students learn by taking part in physical activities as opposed to listening to someone speak or watching a demonstration. Students who prefer kinesthetic learning are sometimes called “do-ers.” Typically, students are separated into four different kinds of learning. The different kinds of learners are visual learners, auditory, reading and writing preference, and kinesthetic learners.

The first definition of kinaesthetic intelligence comes from Frames of mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences by Howard Gardner. In his book, he details different activities and the levels of kinaesthetic intelligence they require. Dancing or performing surgery, for example, requires a higher kinaesthetic intelligence because they are more difficult activities than most others. In the 1940s, Margaret H’Doubler wrote about learning through physical activity. She defined this process as learning through dance and movement.


Based on the theory that describes different styles of learning, kinesthetic learners discover through doing rather than thinking before acting. Djeco toys from Good to Play are great for kinesthetic learners. These types of learners might not learn very well from listening or reading. They typically learn better while moving around. They typically do very well in experiments, activities, sports, acting, and visual arts because they can move while engaging in these activities.

Kinesthetic learners often undertake multiple events at once and remember things based on what they were doing when they first experienced them. For example, if a person is playing football when he or she hears a piece of information, it could be forever linked in their mind to football. They tend also to have very good hand-eye coordination.

Kinaesthetic vs. Tactile

Certain scholars consider kinaesthetic learning and tactile learning to be the same. However, others think that they are different qualities. Some scholars insist that kinaesthetic learning and tactile learning have different characteristics. The scholar Galeet BenZion says that kinaesthetic learning results in new understanding or knowledge from body movement. She also found that learning through movement is most effective when the student uses words to describe and explain the body movement.


The concept of different learning styles maintains some popularity in different areas of the world, but the idea is somewhat controversial. Students definitely have preferences for different kinds of learning but are there actual discreet learning styles? There is very little evidence that tailoring lessons and tutelage to different learning styles produces better outcomes. There is evidence that students do not learn better when a message is tailored to a specific learning style. However, studies have found that mixing the different modes of learning does yield better results. So, understanding can be enhanced by including tactile discovery as opposed to only listening to lectures.

This applies to toys used by students inside and outside of the classroom. They can be incorporated in different ways. Since kinaesthetic learners tend to associate knowledge with what they were doing at the time, a student can be taught through the use of toys. Also, the student can just be taught while using the toys so that he or she will more readily remember the information.

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