While there are many helpful learning methods, hands-on learning is an important part of any student’s educational experience. They are those moments when students truly get to learn by doing, and they are crucial, even at the kindergarten level. Hands-on learning is also often known as kinesthetic learning. As you may already be aware, there are many different learning styles, and this is merely one of them. There will be many young students who benefit more from physical—but it should definitely help different types of learners.
Through hands-on learning, kindergarten students can develop new skills, make memories, and make connections in their early education. Even better, the nature of hands-on learning lends itself to better learning outcomes, such as student engagement and problem solving. These are essential skills for early childhood and beyond when in the real world. Furthermore, including hands-on experiences in your classroom can have many benefits for young children (as well as students of all ages). The best part is that their learning experience can help them navigate real-world experience and will last long after kindergarten is over.
Hands-On Experiences Are More Engaging
It is no question that hands-on learning experiences are more engaging than traditional learning experiences. This hands-on part of the learning process gives students a chance to learn through completing a task. Kindergarteners can take in the sound, touch, smell, sight, and sometimes even taste of what they are learning about. Engaging the senses (also known as sensory learning) helps them to make even more connections than what they might make by reading a book alone. These connections are both cognitively and in real life. All of those connections formed during the hands-on experiences help them to commit their new learning to memory. For example, take a look at these hands-on sight word activities. Visual learning paired with hands-on learning? A classic combo!
Students Commit the Learning to Memory
Have you ever thought back to your early school memories? Most people probably don’t remember much from their time in kindergarten, but if they do, chances are that they remember hands-on experiences. Activities like counting the seeds of a pumpkin, completing science experiments or STEM challenges, and writing letters in shaving cream on a desk just seem to stick better in our brains.
The same goes for our kindergarten students today. They are more likely to commit hands-on experiences to memory than they are to any activities they complete with a pencil and paper. If we want our students to remember what we are teaching, we can use this benefit of hands-on learning in our favor. No matter what the subject matter, if you keep this in mind, you are a next step closer to helping your student toward a lifelong love of learning!
Opportunities for Collaboration and Conversation
Hands-on experiences also lend themselves to collaboration. Within hands-on learning tasks, students can be paired up or be in groups. It will help kindergarten students build the foundation of teamwork skills that they can use throughout their school years. And not only will the direct experience help teach important concepts, it assists in laying down foundational skills while also having fun in a learning environment.
We hope you have a few new ideas on how to create hands-on activities and understand why they are so important. At home or at school, we can easily throw together a few resources. They can lead to hours of learning fun and certainly help in the word world. What are some of the best ways you like to teach hands-on experiences or learning opportunities? If you have a great way you are excited to share, let me know in the comments below. I'm always open to hearing about new teaching methods and interactive lessons that are an effective way to help teach children of all ages. Your thoughtful and creative lesson plans will help play such a large part in a love for lifelong learning!