Multiple Intelligence and Children’s Learning

Back in 1983 a man named Howard Gardner wrote a book called, Frames of Mind.  In it he spoke about what he called multiple intelligence.  Multiple intelligence says that children all have their own individual strengths when it comes to learning.  As teachers and parents we can observe our children and present ways that help foster outcomes.  In a classroom it is important to provide many kinds of experiences across the different styles so that all children’s emerging skills are successful.

There are 8 basic styles of learning.  Most children tend to lean towards one or several of these styles.  The styles are: Linguistic, Logical, Kinesthetic, Musical, Spatial, Naturalist, Interpersonal, and Intrapersonal.  By observing children’s play, adults can pick up on each child’s styles of strength and thus incorporate it into the classrooms curriculum and individualize to meet each child’s needs.  Using multiple intelligence theory will help teachers to plan for emerging skills by including activities that play upon the children’s strengthsBy understanding each learning style you can better your outcomes through planning activities that capture your children’s interests.


This child enjoys books and being read to.  They like playing games that involve words; like rhyming, using new vocabulary, and letter sounds.  They tell you stories about themselves and how they perceive the world.  They enjoy having you write dictations for their artwork.


Explain to the child what it is you want them to do and remind them of the rules/expectations regularly.  Try to use different voices while reading and avoid monotone speaking.  Teach new vocabulary and encourage the child to use it in their conversations with you.  Use word problems when teaching math skills and let the child use manipulatives to show you their understanding.  Let the child play with games and puzzles that include letters and words.


This child enjoys math related activities.  They like sorting, problem solving, comparing objects, and classifying.  They sort the farm animals in the block center, playing games that include counting, science experiments, and games that have scenarios (what would you do if…).

Use pictures and hands on learning to teach concepts.  Have classroom rules and procedures that you teach the children.  Encourage problem solving (if they appear stuck, ask the who, what, where, when, and why questions).  Provide many hands on experiences.


This child enjoys moving.  They have good physical coordination and move well to rhythm and beat.  They like gross motor play and role-playing using props and dress-ups.  They enjoy playground equipment such as balls and climbers.

Encourage the child to trace letters and practice writing their name.  Act out stories or concepts that you are learning.  Use manipulatives and hands on experiences to teach math skills and science concepts. 


This child enjoys singing and experimenting with instruments.  They like to dance, learn new songs, and clap out patterns.  They like movement games, dance videos, and making up new words to familiar songs.

Talk out loud about what you are doing or what the child is doing.  Listen to the child and use plenty of prompts (who, what, where, when, why) to help them be able to verbalize their ideas and concept understanding.  Sing songs that teach concepts such as The Alphabet Song or Days of the Week.  Read books every day so the children can both hear and see the story.  Play games such as Name the Sense Used or Categories.


This child enjoys art and construction materials.  They like to build with blocks, looking at pictures, drawing observations and graphing, and doing puzzles.  They use art materials for experimentation and to represent ideas.

Encourage child to build or draw representations of things you are learning in your classroom.  Use Internet documentaries to provide on-line field trips and how things are made.  Use visual aids to introduce new vocabulary and concepts.


This child enjoys being outside and a part of nature.  They like to make collections, observing nature, learning about animals, and comparing natural objects.  They like fiction books that relate facts about habitats, nature and the environment.  Take learning outside and include natural science studies into your program on a regular basis.

Bring in natural materials for the child to explore.  If possible include living creatures such as pill bugs or worms.  Encourage the child to bring items they have found to share with the classroom. If possible include a garden and flora on your playground.


This child enjoys people.  They like working with others and tend to be social.  They like to set a goal and achieve it.  They like acting out play cooperatively using dramatics and manipulatives.  They like playing games with others and being part of a team.

If possible, provide the child with opportunities to socialize with people of various ages.  Spend a few minutes just chatting with the child individually so they can discuss what they have learned or their opinion on a subject.  Give feedback and praise when they do something note worthy.  Use role-play to help strengthen their people skills.  Help them learn to work alone occasionally.


This child enjoys individual play.  They like to explore materials on their own and in quiet spaces.  They like to learn about an area of study in more depth.  They tend to be independent and able to focus on the task at hand.

Have quiet spaces throughout your classroom.  Check in with them throughout the day as intrapersonal children may have difficulty asking for help.  Encourage the child to follow their interests and provide books and materials that they can use to explore.  Spend time helping them become involved in social opportunities by asking them questions about themselves or by asking them what song they would like to sing at your rug time.