How to study better if you are a physical / kinesthetic learner?

Who are kinesthetic learners?

Kinesthetic learners are physically and mentally active. They’re often energetic, athletic, and enjoy hands-on learning.

These kind of learners process information best when tactilely engaged with the subject at hand, and struggle to sit idly by when trying to take in new information.

You might be a kinesthetic learner if you prefer to: Participate in hands-on activities rather than just looking at the textbooks or listening to lectures.

These students learn best when they can incorporate physical activity into the learning process. For example, they may need to pace when reading and writing, or use gestures when talking to someone.

At the same time they are moving around, they can also be learning something or be at ease. However, they tend to be easily distracted and often become bored with activities that require sitting still for long periods of time. They move in response to what they are thinking, forming a mental picture of the problem.

In this article, we’ll dive into the best tips for anyone with this type of learning style.

How to know if I am a kinesthetic learner?

You might have often thought “Am I a kinesthetic learner?”. Let’s see step by step what makes an individual a kinesthetic learner. Believe me when I say “these kinesthetic learners have a set of special behaviors and study methods that work best for them”.

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While people often have a combination of learning styles, the general consensus is that there are three main types: auditory learners, visual learners, and kinesthetic learners. Kinesthetic learners are those who need to use their bodies in order to learn new material.

Like to learn ‘hands on’ and prefer trial and error

Kinesthetic learners (also known as ‘tactile’ learners) learn best by doing. They like to touch and actively engage with their environments. When they’re studying, they often move around to remain physically engaged with the material.

Distance Learning Computer Webcam  - Elf-Moondance / Pixabay
Elf-Moondance / Pixabay

These learners thrive when they can try activities for themselves, rather than just watching or listening to others do it. If you prefer to discover something for yourself, that’s a good sign you’re a hands-on learner.

The best way to study is to study in the ways you learn best. That’s why it’s so important to know your learning style. If you are a kinesthetic learner, your learning style is hands-on and interactive. It means you learn through physical movement and hands-on activities.

Prefer a problem-solving approach and use all senses

Kinesthetic learners typically enjoy solving puzzles or problems. If there is a difficult problem in your studies, try breaking it down into smaller parts, then tackle each part one at a time. By doing this, you may be able to find creative ways of overcoming problems.

Child Kid Learning Education  - Anilsharma26 / Pixabay
Anilsharma26 / Pixabay

Make sure that you do practical activities whenever possible. You may even want to create a timetable of when to do theory and when to do practical activities for each subject.

Set aside as much time as you can for each subject or task. You will need more time than others to complete each task because of your learning style and the need to engage with the material.

Use multiple senses while studying (see, hear, smell, touch). Use visual aids such as charts, posters or flashcards, or make them yourself. You may find writing out key words and phrases helpful too. You’ll remember them better if you do this in different colors for each new topic. Make up songs with rhymes that help you remember facts, figures and dates. If a task involves numbers, write down the calculation several times so that it becomes second nature. Try to demonstrate what you are learning physically if possible – for example, practice throwing a ball if you are learning about gravity!

Like to make study material

You learn best when you make things for your studies. This is particularly useful for creative subjects, such as art or even science. The more involved you are in the learning process, the more likely it is that you’ll remember the information. It can help to create something each time you learn a new concept.

You prefer to work on one thing at a time. Above all else, keep your workspace organised and don’t have too many things on the go at once. It may help to create checklists with tasks that need to be done, so you can gradually tick them off.

Doodle Cartoon Art Draw Drawing  - milaoktasafitri / Pixabay
milaoktasafitri / Pixabay

Use practical materials wherever possible rather than just text books.

Even though lectures may not be ideal for kinesthetic learners, they are still an important part of learning the material in your classes. Focus on staying engaged by taking notes and asking questions when you need clarification. Taking notes during lectures helps kinesthetic learners to maintain focus during lectures.

Like group activities and team work

Kinesthetic learners are students who learn best through a “hands-on” approach. These students thrive when learning by doing, and often prefer activities, projects, and group work to traditional lectures.

These learners are hands-on learners who learn best through movement and experience. They need to walk around and move their bodies while they learn. They also need to use all of their senses. This can be done perfectly by working in small study groups.

Stickies Post It Note Business  - Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay
Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

Kinesthetic learners tend to be the most active students in a room. They may find it difficult to stay on task or listen to long lectures. If you find yourself fidgeting in your seat, doodling on your notes, or have a hard time sitting still during class, there is a good chance you are a kinesthetic learner.

Short attention span without physical activity

You have a short attention span, so it’s best to work in small chunks. Take regular breaks and reward yourself when you complete each task

Make studying a habit and study at the same time every day when possible. This encourages you to build it into your lifestyle and helps you stay focused on your work.

Use your school’s allotted break times between classes to get up and move around. Going out for some fresh air or jogging up and down the stairs will help you get focused again once class starts back up.

Some students have the ability to sit down and focus on one subject all day long — not kinesthetic learners! Many hands-on students learn best in short bursts, so don’t worry if you need to take regular breaks while studying or doing homework. Just make sure those breaks are productive (like going for a walk) instead of too distracting (like playing video games).

Best study tips for kinesthetic learners

#1 Teach colleagues what you have learnt

Teach colleagues what you have learnt. The process of explaining to others helps you remember facts and concepts much better than studying them on your own.

strategies and tips for kinesthetic physical learners

Kinesthetic learning is the process of learning through physical movement and doing. In fact, kinesthetic learners are often referred to as “hands-on” or “do-it-yourself” learners. These types of learners like to be physically involved in the learning process and benefit greatly from engaging their bodies, minds and senses when taking in new information. They can be highly benefitted from actively engaging in group work where activities such as discussing and teaching other students are involved.

Kinesthetic learners may have a difficult time sitting still during long lectures and may find it hard to focus on what is being discussed. If you are a kinesthetic learner, you might want to try teaching to your colleagues actively so that it can improve your memory.

#2 Make something (flashcards, mnemonic devices)

Kinesthetic learners learn best when they’re doing something, such as taking notes, doodling pictures or making flashcards for later review. If you’re a kinesthetic learner, you’re probably already pretty good at taking notes, but try adding images to your notes that explain key concepts in a way that makes sense to you.

strategies and tips for kinesthetic physical learners

Make something (flashcards, mnemonic devices). Being able to physically manipulate something while studying will help you remember the information.

Kinesthetic learners are tactile people. They have a hard time picking up new information through reading and listening. The best way for them to learn is through physical activity, such as building a model or taking things apart.

Kinesthetic learners learn best through movement and hands-on activities. They like to make things, draw pictures, build models and explore the world around them.

Kinesthetic learners should try mind mapping. This technique allows for a more creative visual representation of what’s being studied. Mind maps are diagrams with a central idea at the center and branches or subtopics leading off from it. You can make a mind map on paper or on a whiteboard as you study with your classmates. The main thing is to get the information down visually in an organized way so you can interact with it more easily later on.

Kinesthetic learners can use flashcards for a variety of purposes, including reviewing vocabulary words or memorizing formulas. If you’re learning a new language, write one word in English on one side of the flashcard and the same word in your target language on the backside of the card. If you’re preparing for a big test, write study questions on one side of each card and answers on the other side. You can also organize your flashcards into categories when you’re studying by putting all of your formulas together, or by grouping all of your history questions in one pile.

#3 Be active – walk around, read loud while studying

Take notes by hand– writing stimulates your brain so that you can remember more of what you hear.

Make lists – noting what is important can help you focus on key information.

Use symbols and highlight words – use different colored pens or highlighters to emphasize important concepts. This will give your hand something to do while your mind absorbs new information.

Walk around during study breaks – getting up and moving around helps keep blood flowing to the brain and keeps you alert for new information.

strategies and tips for kinesthetic physical learners

Kinesthetic learners prefer to learn by doing. They like moving while they study, such as reading while walking around or using their hands to make flashcards. Kinesthetic learners will often take notes and create mnemonic devices such as acronyms and rhymes.

Students who have kinesthetic learning styles often work best when they can incorporate movement into their learning process. As a result, taking notes while walking around or standing up is often preferable to sitting down at a desk.

These learners learn through movement and doing. They are “hands-on” learners and they usually need movements when learning. These students will do best with a hands-on approach to learning.

Kinesthetic learners can be identified by their need to touch everything, the way they swing their legs when sitting, or their fidgeting during class. Their teachers are likely to notice that these students prefer activities that involve moving around and participating physically in some way.

#4 Use a computer

Use a computer so you can type instead of write for note taking, writing papers and completing other assignments.

Kinesthetic learners have an easier time taking in information when they are moving around. They often make good athletes, but they also have an advantage in learning. This is because they tend to make the best use of the memory techniques that involve movement.

strategies and tips for kinesthetic physical learners

You can use a computer to mark your progress as well. Using a computer helps you stimulate in a both visual and auditory manner. By using a computer, you can follow video tutorial, listen to podcast and create study material as well.

Using a computer might be useful to sort and organize your study material into nice collections as well.

#5 Write notes while studying and follow with finger when reading

Kinesthetic learning is a teaching method that involves kinesthetics, or the use of bodily motions. This type of learning is commonly used in music, but it can be applied to other areas as well. The key to this type of learning is to get the child up and moving while they learn. The best way to do this with preschoolers is through music and movement.

Kinesthetic learners (which, by the way, is probably you if you are reading this) learn by doing. They need to move and touch things in order to acquire new knowledge.

strategies and tips for kinesthetic physical learners

Kinesthetic learners are, by far, the most hands-on learning style. If you’re a kinesthetic learner, you learn by doing. You understand and memorize things by means of physical movement and interactions.

#6 Use learning aids or build something

Kinesthetic learners may struggle in the classroom because they don’t learn well through lectures or reading assignments alone. If this sounds like you, here are some tips that can help you study.

strategies and tips for kinesthetic physical learners
  • Use flashcards to quiz yourself and practice key terms before class
  • Highlight your textbook as you read it
  • Rewrite your notes after class to help solidify the information in your mind

There are many ways to use movement to help improve your memory, including:

  • Make study materials into games
  • Use flashcards with words on one side and pictures or symbols on the other to help you remember
  • Create rhymes or songs that incorporate the material you need to learn
  • Keep a journal of your progress and challenges. Writing can be very helpful for some kinesthetic learners.
  • Use a computer to track your progress and create diagrams

When using flashcards as study materials first write out other concepts on cards, then act them out or make up gestures or motions that connect with the information on the cards. For example, if you are studying grammar rules, pretend to be an editor correcting a paper and gesture for commas and periods as you read through it. Or put together a giant flowchart showing the steps in a process (such as photosynthesis) and act it out as you study it.

#7 Try listening to music

You might find that a tune helps you focus and concentrate. If you’re doing repetitive tasks, a song with a fast beat can help to keep you engaged. At the same time, if you’re trying to do something creative, classical music may be beneficial for encouraging your creative side.

strategies and tips for kinesthetic physical learners

When studying for exams, it’s important to understand how you learn best so that you can tailor your study sessions for maximum retention. For instance, if you’re a kinesthetic learner, reading long passages from the text isn’t going to be as effective as drawing diagrams or performing experiments on your own. Music can help you concentrate better along the way.

For a different example, if you’re studying a foreign language, you might want to practice speaking the language while you’re exercising. If that’s too difficult, listen to music in the language or watch foreign films with subtitles.

#8 Engage in group work

With kinesthetic learning, students often learn best when they interact and collaborate with others in a group setting. Group projects can help students master particular concepts by teaching them how to communicate their ideas to others and how to identify different strengths and weaknesses within a team setting.

strategies and tips for kinesthetic physical learners

If you’re a kinesthetic learner, your best way to learn is by engaging in physical activities — but not just any physical activity. You need to be doing something that’s related to what you’re trying to learn. These learners are students who learn best by practicing. They have a need to move and be engaged in what they’re studying. Studying in small groups can make studying less boring. Yes, adding some physical activity and collaboration can help your exam game more enjoyable.

You may want to study alone so that you can focus, but sometimes being around other people can be a good thing for kinesthetic learners. You can learn from each other by asking questions and explaining concepts, or even just bouncing ideas off one another. As long as everyone is focused on studying, it can be helpful for all involved!


Sometimes, it can be easier to study with others rather than sitting in a room doing it on your own. Organize a group of your friends and make an informal study group or two. You can also use online forums and message boards to join a larger group of people who are all studying the same subjects as you! If you’re struggling with a particular topic, there’s a good chance that someone in the group will have already mastered it and be able to help you out!

The trick for kinesthetic learners is to get them up and about. They retain information much better when they see it or hear it with their own eyes and ears.

#9 Role-play concepts for better understanding

If you’re having trouble grasping an abstract concept, try simulating the idea through role-playing with friends or classmates. For example, if you’re studying Greek tragedies, try acting out scenes from these dramatic plays with other students in your class or at home while studying alone.

Kinesthetic learners love to get their hands dirty. They learn best when they’re able to do an activity, touch something or be in motion — so it’s not surprising that sitting still at a desk is their worst nightmare!

strategies and tips for kinesthetic physical learners

Adding role-play for study sessions can improve memory and reduce boredom. Sometimes difficult theories and explanations can be simplified and memorized with the use of role-play method. Take your creativity to the next level by adding role-play for your study sessions.

#10 Short breaks between studies

If you need to take frequent breaks while studying and if sitting still while being taught is difficult, you could be a kinesthetic learner.

strategies and tips for kinesthetic physical learners

Learning styles are different for each student. Some people just need to hear the information, some need to see it and others need to write it out. But if you’re a kinesthetic learner, sitting down and studying can be difficult.

Study in short bursts. Many kinesthetic learners find that it’s easier to focus on studying if they break up their study sessions into brief, frequent intervals over the course of a day. One helpful strategy is to alternate 10-minute periods of studying with 10-minute breaks during which you can get up and stretch, do some physical activity or simply relax your mind by doing something else.

Use your body when learning. Particularly when trying to remember lists or sets of facts, you can use your body by walking around the room while reciting what you are trying to learn or standing while writing down information on a blackboard.

Physical activities can help kinesthetic learners relax and refocus their minds and bodies so they can think more clearly and perform better in school. Physical activities can be incorporated by taking small breaks between the main study sessions.

Even though they are constantly in motion, they tend to forget to drink water, which makes their concentration levels drop quickly. Keep some water on the desk at all times.

A kinesthetic learner can pay attention for a long period of time, but for the sake of their productivity and memory, it’s best if they take frequent breaks. Let them take a break every time they complete an assignment, or every time they finish a chapter in their book.

#11 Physical exercises between long study sessions

strategies and tips for kinesthetic physical learners

Kinesthetic learning is a style of education that involves physical movement and interaction with the environment. It is one of three different styles of learning, along with auditory and visual learning. People who learn best kinesthetically tend to prefer hands-on activities, physical movement, and practical lessons.

A typical classroom setting may not be ideal for students with a kinesthetic learning style. Kinesthetic learners are often bored by traditional teaching methods. They tend to be energetic and need more physical activity during learning. Take short breaks between studies. For instance, take a walk or jog for 5 minutes after studying for an hour. Furthermore, physical exercises between long study sessions, such as pushups and sit-ups, can help you concentrate on your studies.


From a young age, kinesthetic learners have been taught to believe that sitting still and memorizing facts is the only way to learn. Unfortunately, this method doesn’t work well for kinesthetic learners because they rely on their hands, eyes and body to help them absorb new information.

Student Mathematics Education  - geralt / Pixabay
geralt / Pixabay

Kinesthetic learners are students who learn by doing. They are “hands-on” learners and they thrive on physical activity and movement. These students often find it difficult to sit still for long periods or listen to lectures passively. They want to get up, touch things and move around. Kinesthetic learners need opportunities to be physically involved in their learning in order to remain interested and engaged.

Kinesthetic learners are those that learn best through physical movement. They need to be able to do something in order to fully understand it, and they have a tendency to get bored when simply sitting down and listening to someone lecture at them.

So, if you think you are a kinesthetic learner try the above tips and make the most from your study sessions.

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About Author

Anuradhika Lakmali

Anuradhika Lakmali is a co-founder of Science A Plus learning network. She is working as a government teacher and has interest in chemistry, biology, phisics and self development.