Multisensory learning embraces the fact that children have different learning styles. What inspires creativity and learning in one child may cause another child to feel like they’re stuck. The key is discovering which learning style works best so you can cultivate a deep love of learning for every child.
What is Multisensory Learning?
Multisensory learning theory acknowledges that learning happens through our five senses. We receive information in various ways, and then we can process and apply that information in our everyday lives.
Multisensory learning is typically divided into four categories:
- Visual (by seeing pictures, words, colors, etc.)
- Auditory (through sounds, listening, and speaking)
- Tactile (through touch – often called hands-on learning)
- Kinesthetic (with movement – either moving or seeing action)
Why Using Multisensory Learning is So Important
Children are usually most robust in one or two learning styles. While they can determine through other methods, it’s often more difficult and less effective.
Most classrooms and teaching methods focus on only two of these main categories: visual and auditory. This works very well for children who learn best through sight and sound. However, for other children, this can be a painful experience.
When using multisensory learning, the goal is to help children engage in learning with methods in all four categories. This allows children to learn using their strengths.
By presenting information in various ways, you’ll reach each child on their level in the way they learn best. Over time, you’ll discover which learning style best fits your child. Then learning becomes a positive experience rather than dull or frustrating.
How to Incorporate Multisensory Learning
Whether in the classroom or at home, you can use multisensory learning techniques in various ways.
Here are some simple ways to incorporate multisensory learning into teaching and everyday life:
Visual Learning Ideas
- Visual learners love color-coding. For organizations, using colored binders, shelves, bins, or folders can make a huge difference.
- These learners do well with highlighting or underlining information in different colors.
- Create visual steps for any process (math problems, chores, etc.) by writing or drawing each step in a sequence.
- Have pictures, illustrations, or images readily available for any topic your child is learning.
- Let children make their pictures to help them work out stories or problems.
Auditory Learning Ideas
- Reading aloud and listening to others read (or audiobooks) is perfect for auditory learners.
- Incorporate music into learning as much as possible. These children do well with soft background music or by using music to teach and memorize information.
- Auditory learners do well with lectures and spoken directions rather than written lessons and instructions.
- For studying, ask questions aloud, and have your child speak the answers. In general, auditory learners do well when they can say out loud what they’re learning.
- Socializing and group discussions are great for auditory learners.
Tactile Learning Ideas
- Tactile learners do well with hands-on activities. They learn best by doing and experiencing things firsthand.
- Children learning to write and draw can use salt trays to form their letters and shapes.
- Finger painting is also a great learning experience for tactile learners.
- Playing with aromatherapy playdough is a calming and grounding activity for tactile learners. Here are some great essential oil blends made specifically for kids!.
- For learning math skills, use physical objects like beads, building blocks, or felt shapes to explain concepts.
- Word cards, word flippers, letter magnets, and letter blocks can help teach reading skills.
Kinesthetic Learning Ideas
- As much as possible, incorporate movement into learning for these children. Gym, drama, dancing, and art can all play an important role here.
- Have these learners “act out” stories, history, and other concepts to help them learn and retain information.
- Use hand gestures often when teaching a kinesthetic learner.
- Board games can help teach a variety of concepts.
- Teach math concepts with movements like snapping fingers or clapping. Drum out math equations to a rhythm.
- Hands-on experiments and creating physical models are also great activities.
Bringing Out the Best in Our Kids
Are you looking for more tools and resources to help your child develop life skills? Try using the multisensory BE Buddy® to help your child self-soothe when big feelings take over. Sign up to join our community to receive monthly newsletters packed with actionable insights and tips. Together, we can help kids be calm, confident, and connected.
Thanks for reading,
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