Good listening skills are essential for school success. If your child’s listening skills could use sharpening try these three easy, quick, and fun activities. These games can be played in a 10-20 minute period of time and will help your young child become a better listener!
Have your child close their eyes. Start by saying, “Listen carefully.” Make a noise using a familiar household sound. For example, run the vacuum, ring the doorbell, turn on some music, fill a pan with water, etc. Have your child identify the sound. If he or she can’t identify the sound give them a hint. For example, “This is what you hear when I’m getting ready to cook spaghetti.”
Play a “directions” game. Again say, “Listen carefully.” Start with a two-step direction, such as, “Hop to the refrigerator then skip back to the chair.” Or if you are outside you might try, “Jump to the tree then hop over to the swing.”
When your child can do a “two-step” direction with ease, increase the difficulty by adding another step. For example, “Run to the tree, hop to the swing, then come back and give me a hug.”
Read a favorite rhyme or story, and substitute an incorrect word. Start by saying "Listen carefully." “The three little kittens, they lost their scarf…?” and let your child say the correct word. Or, pretend to forget a word and let your child say it for you. “Once upon a…I forgot what the next word is. Can you say it?”
By starting each listening game with the words, “Listen carefully” your child will soon identify this as a signal requiring his or her full attention. As you can imagine this can apply and be helpful in other situations, such as when you are at the mall and you say “Listen carefully, stay by my side.”
Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.