15 Activities to Support the Pyramid of Learning

by | Jan 6, 2023

Have you ever wondered how our kiddos learn? Or maybe how we as parents/teachers/ caregivers can help them learn more efficiently?

Understanding and being able to utilize the information in the pyramid of learning is going to greatly benefit the little ones in your care.

What is Pyramid Learning?

Pyramid learning is seeing the child as a whole versus just focusing on what is being taught. Pyramid learning focuses on the child’s nervous system as the base and builds up from there.

What are the remaining tiers of the Pyramid of Learning?

The foundation of the pyramid is the central nervous system. The tiers that build on that are sensory systems, sensory-motor development, perceptual-motor development, and cognition intellect.

All of these systems work together to help your child learn and develop. When one is weak or lacking, they all suffer.

Second Tier – Sensory Systems

Olfactory (which is smell)

Visual (which is vision)

Auditory (this is hearing)

Gustatory (this is taste)

Tactile (which is touch)

Vestibular (balance)

Proprioception ( the ability to know where your body is in relation to space)

Activities to Strengthen the Sensory Systems

1. Make Noises

Have fun making different noises, buzzing like a bee, clucking like a chicken, open wide and say AHHH, close your mouth and say MMMMM.

2. Make Play Dough

Little hands will love making play dough, squishing it, and making different shapes and animals.

3. Obstacle Course

4. Dancing to music

Dancing to the beat of the music is great for kids to self-express and develop an understanding of body awareness.

5. Blind Taste Test

Tasting different foods is so important for sensory learning! Learning what different foods smell, taste and feel like is a great sensory activity to do with little ones.

Third Tier – Sensory-Motor Development

Body Scheme ( the body’s awareness through movement)

Reflex Maturity ( this relates to the body’s development of reflexes)

Ability to Screen Input (Being able to discern which sensory experiences are more important than others)

Postural Security ( confidently holding certain postures to prevent a fall)

Awareness of Two Sides of the Body

Motor Planning ( being able to plan movements – rather than them just “happening”)

Activities to Strengthen Sensory-Motor Development

6. Painting

Painting is a great sensory activity for little ones to do. If you can do finger painting, that is even better! You can also offer different objects to paint with like q-tips or sponges.

7. Sensory Bin

Sensory bins are a fun and easy way to stimulate your little one’s senses. They are also incredibly easy to piece together (and cheap!) You can simply use what you have around the house or even pick things up from the dollar tree!

Related Post: 7 Benefits of Sensory Play

8. Sensory Bottles

Sensory bottles are easy and mess-free sensory activity to do with littles. They are so fun to put together and simple to do with kiddos of all ages.

Related Post: How to make Simple DIY Glitter Sensory Bottles

9. Playing with Rice

Rice play is phenomenal for fine motor development in little hands. Developing those fine motor skills is beneficial for handwriting later in childhood.

10. Bubbles

Bubble play is something that so many little ones enjoy! There are lots of different options when it comes to bubbles. They can use a wand to blow bubbles, make bubble art, or even drive little cars through the bubbles!

Fourth Tier – Perceptual Motor Development

Auditory Language Skills (being able to hear and speak)

Visual-Spatial Perception (identifying what is seen in relation to space)

Attention Center Functions ( Holding attention to tasks)

Hand-Eye Coordination ( using vision to guide the movement of hands)

Ocular Motor Control (ability to locate and fixate on something in their environment)

Postural Adjustment ( Being able to adjust posture to maintain balance)

Activities to Strengthen Perceptual Motor Development

11. Balancing Game

Have your little ones practice balancing on one leg and then another. Then you can have them start hopping from leg to leg. Learning to balance is an important skill to have

12. Swinging

Going to the park is so much fun for little ones, and swinging to this day is one of my favorite things! The action of swinging legs while propelling yourself forward and back is fantastic for perceptual motor development.

13. Playing on the Playground

Playing on the playground is fantastic for strengthening muscles, building confidence, and self-awareness.

14. Bouncing a Ball

Have your little one bounce different types of balls. Ball bouncing is great for hand-eye coordination!

15. Walking on a Tape Line

Make different lines with tape around your home, and have your little “walk the tightrope”. This activity is great for developing balance.

Related Post: 9 Large Motor Activities for Infants

Fifth (and top) Tier – Cognition Intellect

Daily Living Activities


Academic Learning

What Does it all Mean?

We learn from the bottom up as humans. Each stage of our development begins with both physical and sensory skills that we master step by step. If for some reason the foundation of our learning is not solid, development can falter. It is important, as parents and caregivers, that we work to strengthen and meet the sensory needs of our children.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Pyramid of Learning:

Who developed the Pyramid of Learning?

The pyramid of learning was developed by 2 individuals named Kathleen Taylor (occupational therapist) and Maryann Trott (special educator). When developing the pyramid of learning they looped in Jean Ayre’s (Sensory Integration Theorist) ideas in order to show how everything flows together.

Is the Pyramid of Learning Important?

Yes, it is very important. The pyramid of learning is important because it shows that using different sensory systems is vital to learning.

The pyramid shows how the things a child’s brain needs to develop organically.

What is the foundation of the Pyramid of Learning?

The foundation of the pyramid of learning focuses on the nervous system which is joined with all of the sensory systems. A child’s development hinges on the ability to process the sensory information it is receiving from the senses.


Utilizing the pyramid to aid in your child’s development is very beneficial. Starting from the ground up so to speak and really focusing on the senses will ensure that all systems are developing cohesively.

Where one tier is weak, the others will be too. Remember, stimulation of all senses is vital to adequate growth and development!

What are your thoughts on the learning pyramid? Let me know in the comments below!