There are eight different types of intelligence according to Howard Gardner, an American developmental psychologist. Other numbers range from five to eight, but they are all variations on those below, but these are those characterized in the current academic literature. The aim of this article is to look at what they are, and more importantly, start to discuss how you might develop each in your child. On this site you will find more information on each and some links are included where relevant. I have grouped them by personal, academic and other.
The eight different types of intelligence are:
- Intrapersonal Intelligence: This refers to the ability to understand one’s own emotions, thoughts, and motivations.
- Interpersonal Intelligence: This refers to the ability to understand and interact effectively with others.
- Linguistic Intelligence: This refers to the ability to use language effectively, both in written and oral forms.
- Logical-Mathematical Intelligence: This refers to the ability to reason logically and use mathematical concepts to solve problems.
- Spatial Intelligence: This refers to the ability to think in three-dimensional space and visualize objects in the mind.
- Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence: This refers to the ability to control one’s body movements and handle objects skillfully.
- Musical Intelligence: This refers to the ability to recognize and create patterns in sound, including rhythm, pitch, and melody.
- Naturalistic Intelligence: This refers to the ability to recognize and categorize patterns in nature, such as plants and animals.
Intrapersonal intelligence refers to an individual’s ability to understand and reflect on their own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It could also be called self-awareness. Developing intrapersonal intelligence is crucial for children as it can lead to greater self-awareness, self-confidence, and self-motivation. If a child is unaware of themself they are going to struggle to understand the importance of other characteristics.
This is the reason I have put this one first out of the different types of intelligence. If a child does not know and are comfortable with who they are they are going to struggle to develop other aspects of their personality.
Here are some tips to help your child build their intrapersonal intelligence:
- Encourage Self-Reflection: Encourage your child to reflect on their thoughts and feelings by asking them questions about their day, how they are feeling, and what they are thinking about.
- Promote Mindfulness: Mindfulness practices, such as meditation and breathing exercises, can help children develop intrapersonal intelligence by increasing their self-awareness and focus.
- Teach Goal-Setting: Goal-setting can help children develop self-motivation and a sense of purpose. Encourage your child to set achievable goals and work towards them.
- Foster Independence: Encourage your child to take responsibility for their own decisions and actions, and allow them to make their own choices whenever possible.
- Teach Emotional Regulation: Emotional regulation, or the ability to manage one’s emotions, is an important component of intrapersonal intelligence. Teach your child techniques for managing their emotions, such as deep breathing or counting to 10.
- Encourage Creative Expression: Creative expression, such as art or writing, can help children explore their thoughts and feelings and develop self-awareness.
- Model Positive Self-Talk: Children learn by example. Model positive self-talk by speaking positively about yourself and your own abilities, and encouraging your child to do the same.
In conclusion, developing intrapersonal intelligence in children is important for building self-awareness, self-confidence, and self-motivation. If the aim of a parent is to prepare their child for the world, understanding happiness and being able to understand their emotions are possibly the most key. We have a section of the website devoted to self-image and mental health with many articles looking at how to help your child as well as developing independence.
Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to interact with other people and to understand their feelings. It could also be called empathy and is rightly a different type of intelligence intelligence in its’ own right. As well as someone being able to understand and manage our own emotions, we also need to be able to read and understand other peoples. This allows us to live a fulfilling and rich life with meaningful interactions and less conflict. Children with strong interpersonal intelligence often enjoy socializing and are good at making friends. They are often good at reading people’s emotions and can empathize with others. Some children are more at ease in these situations than others, however, it is good to try and help develop your child to at least be comfortable and not let this be a limiting factor.
Here are some tips to help your child build their interpersonal intelligence.
- Encourage Social Interaction: Encouraging your child to interact with others is one of the best ways to help them develop their interpersonal intelligence. Encourage your child to make friends and participate in group activities, such as team sports or clubs.
- Teach Empathy: Empathy is a key component of interpersonal intelligence. Teach your child to be empathetic by encouraging them to consider other people’s feelings and perspectives. You can also encourage your child to volunteer and participate in community service activities to help them develop empathy.
- Role Play: Role playing is a great way to help children develop their interpersonal intelligence by allowing them to practice communication and problem-solving skills. Role play with your child and encourage them to take on different roles and perspectives.
- Practice Active Listening: Active listening is an important part of interpersonal intelligence. Teach your child to listen actively by encouraging them to focus on the speaker and ask questions to clarify their understanding.
- Encourage Collaboration: Collaboration is an important part of interpersonal intelligence. Encourage your child to collaborate with others by working on group projects or participating in team sports. This will help them develop teamwork and communication skills.
- Teach Conflict Resolution: Conflict is a natural part of social interaction. Teach your child how to resolve conflicts in a respectful and productive way by encouraging them to communicate their feelings and perspectives.
- Model Positive Interpersonal Skills: Children learn by example. Model positive interpersonal skills by being respectful, empathetic, and collaborative in your own interactions with others. Your child will learn from your example and develop strong interpersonal skills as a result.
In conclusion, if you can help your child build strong interpersonal intelligence that will benefit them for years to come. It is based around talking to them about the world and giving the opportunity to be involved in, as well as modeling, social interactions. We have sections on helping your child understand their place in the world as well as developing friendships.
The next three different types of intelligence could be seen as academic rather than personal. However, it would be wrong to see them as only things that occur in a classroom. They are what allow progression at work as well as allow people to understand the world around them.
Linguistic intelligence is the ability to use language to express oneself. Children who have strong linguistic intelligence can read and write fluently, understand complex concepts, and communicate effectively. They are often good storytellers and enjoy playing word games. They are also better able to express themselves and appreciate the nuance in language that is important.
As for all the different types of intelligence there are several ways you can help support them.
- Start Early: Language development begins at birth, so it’s important to start exposing your child to language as soon as possible. Even before your child can speak, you can read to them, talk to them, and sing to them. This will help them become familiar with the sounds and rhythms of language.
- Read Together: Reading is one of the best ways to help your child develop their language skills. Reading together with your child not only helps to develop their vocabulary, but it also helps to build their comprehension skills. As you read together, be sure to ask your child questions about the story to encourage them to think critically and engage with the text.
- Talk, Talk, Talk: Communication is key to language development. Talk to your child throughout the day about everything from the weather to what you’re cooking for dinner. Engage them in conversation and encourage them to ask questions.
- Play with Language: Children love to play, so why not make language learning fun? Play word games with your child, such as rhyming games or creating silly sentences. This will help your child develop their creativity and critical thinking skills.
- Watch TV and Movies: While it’s important to limit screen time, there are some benefits to watching TV and movies with your child. Choose age-appropriate programs that are engaging and educational. This can help your child develop their listening skills and build their vocabulary.
- Expose Them to Different Languages: Learning a second language can have numerous benefits for children, including improved cognitive function and increased cultural awareness. Expose your child to different languages by reading bilingual books, watching foreign-language movies, or even hiring a language tutor.
- Encourage Writing: Writing is an important part of language development. Encourage your child to write by providing them with a journal or notebook. This will help them practice their writing skills and develop their creativity.
In conclusion, developing linguistic intelligence in children is a critical component of their overall development. By starting early, reading together, talking, playing with language, discussing TV and movies, exposing them to different languages, and encouraging writing, you can help your child build strong language skills that will benefit them for years to come. We have an article here on how to develop your child’s communication skills.
Logical-mathematical intelligence is beyond being good with numbers, but includes the ability to think logically, solve problems, and understand mathematical concepts. Children with this type of intelligence are often good at puzzles, problem-solving, and abstract thinking. They enjoy solving math problems and are often quick at counting and measuring. It is important to help develop this as this would now also include using technology and critical thinking.
Below we have some ways to help develop this form of intelligence in children, but playing with them at any age is the best advice. Some of these below may seem a bit formal. This is because they are based on recruitment tests. However, we have lots of advice on this site to help break down what they might look like at different ages.
- Encourage Critical Thinking: Critical thinking is the foundation of logical-mathematical intelligence. Encourage your child to think critically by asking them questions that require them to analyze and evaluate information. This will help them develop their reasoning and decision-making skills.
- Play Math Games: Math can be fun! Play math games with your child that require them to solve problems and use logical thinking. For example, you could play Sudoku, chess, or logic puzzles together. This will help your child develop their problem-solving skills and build their confidence in math.
- Use Everyday Situations: Help your child develop their logical-mathematical intelligence by using everyday situations as learning opportunities. For example, you could ask your child to help you measure ingredients while cooking, or count out change at the store. This will help them develop their numeracy skills and apply their knowledge to real-world situations.
- Introduce Coding: Coding is a valuable skill that can help develop logical-mathematical intelligence. Introduce your child to coding by enrolling them in a coding class or downloading a coding app. This will help them develop their problem-solving skills and build their confidence in technology.
- Use Manipulatives: Manipulatives, such as blocks or tangrams, can help your child develop their spatial reasoning skills and their ability to visualize concepts. Encourage your child to play with manipulatives and use them to solve problems.
- Encourage Pattern Recognition: Pattern recognition is a key component of logical-mathematical intelligence. Encourage your child to look for patterns in everything from music to nature. This will help them develop their ability to recognize patterns and make connections between different concepts.
- Provide Opportunities for Experimentation: Experimentation is an important part of logical-mathematical intelligence. Provide your child with opportunities to experiment and explore different ideas. For example, you could encourage them to build a simple machine or conduct a science experiment. This will help them develop their curiosity and problem-solving skills.
In conclusion, developing logical-mathematical intelligence in children is critical for their overall development. By encouraging critical thinking, playing math games, using everyday situations as learning opportunities, introducing coding, using manipulatives, encouraging pattern recognition, and providing opportunities for experimentation, you can help your child build strong logical-mathematical intelligence that will benefit them for years to come. Due to limitations it is difficult for many schools to deliver STEM well so we have more advice here.
The third and final type of intelligence that could be seen as academic is spatial intelligence. This is the ability to think in three dimensions and to visualize objects in their minds. Children with strong spatial intelligence are often good at drawing, painting, and sculpting. They are also often good at navigation and have a good sense of direction.
Developing this is relatively easy as it involves your child having a range of experiences form computer games to playing outside. We have more suggestions below.
- Encourage Play: Play is one of the best ways to help children develop their spatial intelligence. Encourage your child to play with building blocks, puzzles, and other toys that require them to think spatially. This will help them develop their spatial reasoning and problem-solving skills.
- Use Visual Aids: Visual aids, such as diagrams and maps, can help your child develop their spatial intelligence by allowing them to visualize concepts. Use visual aids when explaining things to your child, and encourage them to create their own diagrams and maps.
- Play Video Games: Video games can help your child develop their spatial intelligence by requiring them to navigate through virtual environments. Choose games that require spatial reasoning, such as puzzle games or platformers.
- Provide Art Supplies: Art is a great way to help children develop their spatial intelligence. Provide your child with art supplies, such as paper, markers, and clay, and encourage them to create 3D sculptures and drawings. This will help them develop their spatial reasoning and creativity.
- Explore Nature: Nature is full of spatial concepts, such as symmetry and perspective. Take your child on nature walks and encourage them to observe the world around them. Point out spatial concepts, such as the shapes of leaves and the patterns in the bark of trees.
- Build Models: Building models is a great way to help children develop their spatial intelligence. Provide your child with model kits or building materials, such as cardboard and glue, and encourage them to build models of buildings, vehicles, and other objects.
- Play Sports: Sports can help children develop their spatial intelligence by requiring them to navigate through physical environments. Encourage your child to participate in sports that require spatial reasoning, such as soccer or basketball.
In conclusion, developing this type of intelligence in children is critical for their overall development. By encouraging play, using visual aids, playing video games, providing art supplies, exploring nature, building models, and playing sports, you can help your child build strong spatial intelligence that will benefit them for years to come.
This links to the next form of intelligence, which is far more about the physical expression of the body and movement within the space, rather than an understanding of space. These final three different forms of intelligence are based around what might be seen as ‘hobbies’ but a grasp of them will help any person to enjoy the richness of the world.
This could be seen as physical-education, but it is far more than that. Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence refers to the ability to control one’s body movements and handle objects skillfully. It is seen as its’ own different type of intelligence in its’ own right. Here are some suggestions below.
- Encourage Physical Activity: Physical activity is a great way to help children develop their Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence. Encourage your child to participate in sports, dance, or other physical activities that involve body movement.
- Provide Opportunities for Play: Play is a natural way for children to develop their Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence. Provide your child with toys and games that encourage physical movement, such as balls, building blocks, and puzzles.
- Offer Hands-On Learning Opportunities: Hands-on learning opportunities are another great way to help children develop their Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence. Offer your child opportunities to explore and experiment with different materials and textures, such as playdough, sand, and water.
- Teach Fine Motor Skills: Fine motor skills, which involve the small muscles in the hands and fingers, are an important component of Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence. Teach your child fine motor skills by encouraging them to draw, color, and work with small objects.
- Practice Balance and Coordination: Balance and coordination are key components of Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence. Encourage your child to practice balance and coordination by walking on a balance beam, hopping on one foot, and other similar activities.
- Explore the Outdoors: Outdoor activities provide children with opportunities to develop their Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence while enjoying the natural environment. Encourage your child to climb trees, jump over rocks, and explore nature trails.
- Model Active Living: Children learn by example. Model active living by engaging in physical activity and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Your child will learn from your example and develop healthy habits that will benefit them for years to come.
Not every child wants or should be an Olympian, so we have guidance on different sports for every child and playing outside here. Developing bodily-kinesthetic intelligence in children is important for their overall development, not just for sports. By encouraging physical activity, providing opportunities for play and hands-on learning, teaching fine motor skills, practicing balance and coordination, exploring the outdoors, and modeling active living, you can help your child gain all the benefits of an active lifestyle.
Musical intelligence involves the ability to understand and appreciate music. Children who have developed this type of intelligence often have a good sense of rhythm and pitch and can remember songs and melodies easily. They may also be able to play instruments or sing. For me, like these latter different forms of intelligence, it is less about being ‘excellent’ but rather to have an understanding and given the opportunity to appreciate these. It means that your child has the experience to try many of these different things and may find that this is the way that they relax. Music has brought me great enjoyment and solace later in life, although I have never learned an instrument.
- Encourage Singing: Singing is a great way to help children develop their musical intelligence. Encourage your child to sing along with their favorite songs and provide them with opportunities to perform, such as at family gatherings or school events.
- Provide Musical Instruments: Providing your child with access to musical instruments can help them develop their musical intelligence. Consider enrolling your child in music lessons or providing them with instruments, such as a piano, guitar, or drums.
- Listen to Music: Listening to music is a great way to help children develop their musical intelligence by exposing them to different styles and genres. Encourage your child to listen to a variety of music and discuss the different elements, such as rhythm and melody.
- Attend Concerts: Attending concerts and musical performances can help children develop their musical intelligence by exposing them to live performances and different instruments. Take your child to concerts and encourage them to ask questions and interact with the performers.
- Dance: Dancing is a great way to help children develop their musical intelligence by allowing them to connect with music on a physical level. Encourage your child to dance to their favorite songs and provide them with opportunities to participate in dance classes.
- Play Musical Games: Playing musical games, such as musical chairs or musical trivia, can help children develop their musical intelligence by making learning fun and interactive. Play musical games with your child and encourage them to create their own games.
- Incorporate Music into Learning: Incorporating music into learning can help children develop their musical intelligence while also improving their academic skills. For example, you could use music to teach your child the alphabet or multiplication tables.
The final different form of intelligence is naturalistic intelligence. This is the ability to understand and connect with the natural world. Developing naturalistic intelligence is important for children as it can lead to a greater appreciation for the environment and a deeper understanding of the world around them.
Here are some tips to help your child build their naturalistic intelligence:
- Get Outside: Encourage your child to spend time outdoors and explore the natural world. Take nature walks, visit parks, and go on camping trips to help your child develop an appreciation for nature.
- Encourage Observation: Encourage your child to observe the natural world around them, such as by looking at plants and animals and noticing changes in the weather.
- Teach Sustainability: Teach your child about the importance of sustainability and how they can help protect the environment. Encourage them to recycle, reduce waste, and conserve resources.
- Foster a Love of Animals: Help your child develop a love and respect for animals by taking them to zoos, aquariums, and animal sanctuaries.
- Plant a Garden: Planting a garden is a great way to help your child connect with nature and learn about the process of growing food.
- Encourage Nature-Based Hobbies: Encourage your child to develop hobbies that involve nature, such as birdwatching, photography, or nature journaling.
- Use Nature-Based Learning: Use nature-based learning opportunities to help your child build naturalistic intelligence. For example, use nature walks to teach biology, use the stars to teach astronomy, or use rocks and minerals to teach geology.
In conclusion, developing naturalistic intelligence in children is important for building an appreciation for the natural world and a deeper understanding of the environment. By getting outside, encouraging observation, teaching sustainability, fostering a love of animals, planting a garden, encouraging nature-based hobbies, and using nature-based learning, you can help your child build strong naturalistic intelligence that will benefit them both now and in the future.
Final Thoughts on Different Types of Intelligence
Above are the different types of intelligences, as classified in academical journals. Some of them might seem a bit contrived, and I would agree they are of varying importance. However I hope this useful to understand the concepts if you hear about them. This site is created to help you, the conscious positive parent, bring up your child. Do have a look around and see if what is on here. Be careful about signing your child up to too much extra-curricular thinking that this is necessary. There is a risk in that. Most of these can be achieved in a loving environment at home.