This post shares practical ideas for incorporating hands-on, multiple intelligence activities into your elementary classroom.
To fully engage all learners and have them master the learning objectives, it’s important to shape lessons around their unique learning styles.
Related: See our collection of literacy mini-lesson ideas that help you teach to a range of learning styles.
Multiple Intelligence Activities to Use In Your Elementary Classroom
Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart)
Learners who are Word Smart have a way with words. They are comfortable expressing themselves verbally, whether in spoken or written form.
Consequently, they make awesome debaters.
- Giving Oral Presentations
- Reciting lines in a reader’s theater play/role-playing
- Composing Poetry
- Conducting an Interview
- Completing Crossword Puzzles
- Writing Stories/Essays/Articles/Jokes (within various genres)
- Playing games such as Scrabble
- Debating with others about an important issue
- Reading aloud
- Writing story problems
Logical-Mathematical Intelligence (Math Smart)
Children with Logical-Mathematical intelligence do well with interpreting data and analyzing patterns.
They generally excel with numbers and are very logical in their reasoning.
Because of their skill for using numbers, “Math Smart” individuals make great accountants, bankers, and engineers.
- Performing scientific experiments
- Solving Sudoku puzzles (and similar math-focused puzzles)
- Playing math games
- Creating and analyzing patterns
- Doing computer programming
- Creating timelines
- Solving word problems
- Creating a spreadsheet
- Collecting and organizing data
Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart)
Learners that possess visual-spatial intelligence process information via images and pictures.
They visualize how something works, and then they use their artistic abilities to design and create it.
Students with “picture smart” talents manipulate objects mentally (think about a memory game) because they have an excellent visual memory.
- Taking photographs for classroom projects/activities and school events
- Recording a video
- Creating objects using Play Dough or clay
- Designing various types of charts, graphs, diagrams, and posters
- Creating, analyzing and processing information through the use of graphic organizers and mind maps
- Building with blocks, Legos, or other objects
- Putting together jigsaw puzzles
- Studying maps to find geographic locations
- Illustrating written work
- Sketching, drawing, or painting
- Playing memory games
- Visualizing an idea before materializing it/brainstorming
- Making 3D projects
- Putting together a scrap book
- Creating a collage
- Putting together a puzzle with LOTS of pieces
Musical Intelligence (Music Smart)
Have students that process information better through sound and rhythm?
Are they adept at showing mastery of content by performing musically or by composing some type of melody or song?
Musical learners have an ear for sound. They excel in their ability to use melody, rhythm, sound, and/or songs to express their learning.
- Singing songs or jingles
- Composing music or a melody
- Writing songs
- Playing an instrument
- Playing musical games
- Creating games that incorporate music
- Listening to and analyzing music
- Incorporating clapping and rhythm
- Listening to audio books
- Differentiating tone, pitch, and sounds in a song
- Developing a podcast
Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (Body Smart)
Elementary teachers tend to use lots of “Body Smart” activities. These tasks involve physical activity.
“Body Smart” learners do best with “hands-on”lessons that incorporate body and mind coordination.
- Designing costumes or props for readers’ theaters
- Building a model of something
- Repairing equipment
- Playing a game of Charades to act out vocabulary words or characters from a book
- Playing and designing interactive games such as Simon Says or Twister
- Participating in scavenger hunts related to a class assignment
- Choreographing a dance sequence
- Playing sports
- Performing in a play or skit
- Using Manipulatives
Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart)
When you have kids work in collaborative groups or teams, you’re developing their interpersonal intelligence.
“People Smart” individuals make exceptional leaders because they’re good at persuading, negotiating, and working well with others.
- Debating an issue with a team
- Collaborating with peers
- Participating in community service
- Interviewing others
- Participating in group projects
- Playing in team sports
- Working in cooperative groups in order to complete projects
- Leading a book club or literature circle group
- Sharing constructive feedback with classmates
- Teaching peers a skill through reciprocal teaching
- Tutoring younger students
- Acting in a play
Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart)
Compared to interpersonal intelligence, intrapersonal intelligence is focused on the individual, the ability to be “self-smart“.
Learners with a knack for intrapersonal intelligence need time alone to process their thoughts. They have a healthy perception of their limitations and strengths.
While “Self Smart” students do enjoy being around others, they’re okay and quite comfortable working alone.
- Completing individualized projects
- Writing an autobiography
- Pursuing a new goal
- Evaluating own work
- Creating goals with an action plan
- Analyzing text-to-self connections
- Independent reading
- Writing from different points of view
- Participating in independent study activities
Naturalistic Intelligence (Nature Smart)
“Nature Smart” kids have a heart for the environment and the beings that live within it.
They’re strongly focused on animals, plants, Earth, Earth-related issues, and nature in some way, shape, or form.
- Caring for plants and animals
- Organizing a recycling campaign
- Leading beautification projects
- Researching a particular plant or animal
- Developing an outdoor classroom
- Collaborating with environmental groups
- Collecting, sorting, and classifying rocks, leaves, or other natural objects
- Researching and reporting on global issues
- Completing nature-focused science projects
- Participating in nature clubs
Using Multiple Intelligence Activities With Elementary Learners
Implementing a variety of multiple intelligence activities in your elementary classroom will ensure that all learners have several opportunities to work in their zone of genius.
Though one or two may dominant a child’s learning style, most kids naturally possess parts of several.
Have students fill out a Multiple Intelligence Survey to discover their preferences and strengths. Nurture whichever intelligences they excel in while helping them to discover and develop others.