Intrapersonal Intelligence

Welcome back as we continue discussing how Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences apply to learning in children’s outdoor play areas.  Another intelligence to encourage on the preschool playground is the intrapersonal intelligence.  This intelligence involves having a strong sense of self, having self control, and understanding one’s emotions and feelings.  (I think we can all agree, these are really important skills in preschool.)

The preschool playground is a great place to exercise the intrapersonal intelligence. On the playground, children can find small spaces to play and discover on their own and open ended natural materials and outdoor play areas to catch their curiosity, feed their imaginations, and encourage reflection.  Although not synonymous with enjoying being alone, many children with high intrapersonal intelligence enjoy spending time on their own thinking, daydreaming, and reflecting, or engaging in a self-directed game or hobby.  It is these abilities of reflection and self-direction that encourage knowing yourself, self control, and understanding your emotions.

Although this was the last of the 7 recognized intelligences in our series, there is an 8th intelligence that Gardner talks about, the existential intelligence, which I will talk about in a few weeks.  In the meantime, see our outdoor Bookcase that a child with high intrapersonal intelligence might enjoy.


Smith, Mark K. (2002, 2008) “Howard Gardner and Multiple Intelligences,” The Encyclopedia of Informal Education,