Hands-On Learning for Children

Smiling children conducting chemistry experiment in classroom
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Hands-on activities that include hearing, touching, seeing, smelling and tasting can enhance a child's potential to learn by putting the child in the middle of the educational experience. During this type of learning process children engage their minds and bodies in sensory experiences while listening, talking and making their own discoveries.

1 Learning Styles

Not every child learns in the same way. Hands-on activities can accommodate multiple types of learning styles in one classroom. For example, kinesthetic -- or physical movement -- learners may struggle to sit and listen to a science lecture, but can engage in a hands-on activity such as collecting and sorting natural objects. Social learners can connect with their peers through group hands-on explorations such as a collaborative collage or building an architectural structure in a pair. The auditory learner can make her own music or talk herself through the process of creating her hands-on project.

2 Cross-Curricular Approach

Learning in a hands-on way can bridge every curricular area through the early years and beyond. For example, preschool students who are learning about the plant life cycle in science can grow their own flowers in the classroom, kindergartners could plant a class garden and older children could add on a poster drawing that details each stage of growth. The same growing activities also double as art lessons through drawing and math lessons through measuring the growth. Subjects such as social studies and literature can play out in a hands-on way with a student-led historical drama that the children act out.

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.