Imagine this: in the midst of a spelling lesson, you find your child singing the words to the tune of “Bob the Builder” instead of writing them down. Or, perhaps you might notice a giggling kindergartener who tends to use classroom chairs as an obstacle course during naptime.

Though it can be easy to associate these behaviors with disobedience or simple mischief, there is something much deeper at play. Most children (and adults) fall into one of three distinct learning patterns: Visual, Auditory, or Kinesthetic. Each type reveals something special about the way a child perceives themselves and the world around them.

In this guide, I will dig deeper into what makes each learning pattern unique and include corresponding activities that will help your child realize their fullest potential in every aspect of their lives and may even unlock their hidden genius.

To begin, I suggest taking a moment to check out the quiz over at the Education Planner website containing 20 real-life scenarios in which you imagine that you are the child in question. This will allow you to have a solid sense of your child’s learning pattern.

1. Visual

According to What Is My Learning Style, these are the general strengths of the visual learner. Do keep in mind that not all of these points may apply, and that your child might demonstrate visual learning in other ways.

  • They enjoy visual projects and presentations
  • They can easily remember diagrams, charts, maps
  • They can easily remember what they read, write, and draw.

Visual learners thrive when they are regularly given the opportunity to express their thoughts and ideas through a medium that supports their “seeing” mind. They usually have no problem making eye contact when communicating or listening, as this helps them absorb verbal communication effectively. They also tend to be quite detailed in their observations of their environment and therefore can make great storytellers. Some ways to channel this learning pattern are by explaining lessons or rules with diagrams, cartoons, puppets, or photographs. One particular activity to try with your child is to use the “I’m Feeling Lucky” option on Google Earth and discuss the shape of the streets in a randomly chosen city.

2. Auditory

These types of learners are apt when it comes to remembering sounds and songs, and they tend to easily recognize voices they’ve only occasionally heard. They can also follow and remember verbal instructions with ease, which can be a pleasure for many parents and educators. Remember the hypothetical child singing the “Bob the Builder” theme song? This could be an indication that they are an auditory learner and makes sense of spelling by using song to remember the words.

One activity to try with your auditory-learning child is to play the complete Voyager Golden Record playlist, which was released into space in 1977 by the late astrophysicist Carl Sagan who wanted to compile sounds and songs that best represented the rich diversity of Earth. After playing each song/sound, encourage your child to take a minute to match them with an emotion, even the ones that contain an unrecognizable language or no lyrics. This activity is not only fun, it fosters a kind of creativity that strengthens their emotional awareness.

3. Kinesthetic

These types of learners tend to be the most “disruptive” out of the three types, and this is because many schools rarely provide the necessary avenue for hands-on learning. The child using classroom chairs as an obstacle course is most likely a kinesthetic learner since they learn about the world through touch and movement. They usually go on to develop a keen sense of spatial awareness and “motor memory” (remembering hands-on tasks once taught).

To strengthen this pattern, incorporate a variety of dances into your lessons or build a model airplane together. For more low-key kinesthetic types, craft projects like knitting (This resource includes child-friendly knitting patterns) or embroidery are effective strategies that teach patience and attention to detail.

By familiarizing yourself with these three learning patterns, you will be on your way to becoming more aware of your child’s tendencies, especially if they seem distracted during a lesson or project. As we continue to look closer at the ways they make sense of their environment, their dominant learning pattern should emerge. For them, the right activity could transform their learning experience from drudgery into one that energizes and motivates. To see how our preschools incorporate these learning patterns, contact our office today!