Let’s take a moment to pause and think when we ask children to “LISTEN” we are asking them if they can hear the voice,” “Can they listen to the words correctly,” “Can they find differences between the sound sets that are in the background,” and “Can they break the sentences into pieces to understand their meaning and act accordingly.”
These are the essential things to improve listening skills. And to make your child develop the listening power, following the instructions is important. After all, no individual becomes a good listener overnight! So, can good listening too be a skill?
Basically, as with any other skill, listening also needs practice, time, effort, and a lot of patience. Hence, educators and parents need to encourage kids through various ways to learn listening skills.
We can help them to nurture their listening skills with games in a fun way.
How to nurture good listeners
When a child struggles with listening skills and has a less attention span, it seems quite daunting. However, there are ways you can help the child to enhance their listening skills. Some of us are already using a few ways to help our kids without even knowing that(such as giving them some work with proper instruction). We can nurture good listeners by being a little more aware of the process and phases of listening skill development.
We can use audio tools, read books and stories, and play interesting listening games to improve listening skills. We, too, have to be role models for our kids and follow the rules and things that we ask them to do or follow. Talk to them and listen to their queries with patience. Try to encourage kids to listen carefully and understand the value of good listening skills.
Here is a list of a few fun games to enhance the listening skills of preschoolers:
Interactive listening games for preschoolers
1. The Freeze Dance Game
The ‘Freeze Dance’ is a fun-filled game that preschoolers love to play. You need to have some music and a space to make them dance. Give them complete information and instructions. Start playing music and stop it after 30 seconds or so and then repeat. You too can take part with children. You and all the kids should freeze the moment the music stops.
Kids will start dancing when the music begins. The moment the music stops, freeze yourself in the same position until music resumes. Anyone who will keep dancing will be out of the game. Continue the game until one kid is left, and that kid is the winner of the game.
While there is no denying that children would really enjoy playing this game; but, apart from this too, this game has other benefits like encouraging them to listen carefully and follow the instructions that are being given. Moreover, they would also learn to balance themselves while dancing, which again is a crucial motor skill.
2. Do This And Do That
This game is an amazing one to make kids pay attention and listen to the instructions given to them. Kids have to play the game by listening and remembering the instructions at the same time. Give them complete information and instructions about the game.
Ask them to stand in front of you and begin the game. More like an imitation game, this game involves the crucial listening aspect too! Basically, the term ‘do that’ would stand for ‘standing still’ and doing nothing! Whereas, ‘do this’ would stand for imitating the moderator. So if the moderator says ‘do this’ and taps their shoulder, the kids also have to do this. But, if the moderator says ‘do that’ and then taps the shoulder, they do not have to do a thing, and just stand still because remember, ‘do that’ is code for standing still.
The game requires a lot of attention to listen carefully and follow hence developing good listening skills in kids. Also, the game helps kids to develop their cognitive and gross motor skills.
3. Who Is Missing
The game Who is missing is another excellent game to enhance their listening skills. Give them complete instructions beforehand. You will need a big cardboard box and some music to play with. You can lead the game or make a kid leader of the group. Begin the game by playing music, and children will start to dance.
The moment the music stops, children have to stop the dance and sit down by closing their eyes. Then you or the leader will place the box over a kid and ask everyone to open their eyes and make a guess who is missing from the group? Who gives the correct answer is the winner and sits back to their place. Others will resume the game. The game develops the listening power of children and other skills like paying attention and following multiple instructions at a time.
4. Word String Game
The game is suitable for preschoolers and is very easy to play. Begin the game by saying, ‘I went to the shop and I saw…rice(choose words from a grocery list, such as rice, pulses or milk). Then the child sitting next to you says by adding one more word in this sentence, such as, I went shopping, and I saw rice and pulses.
The next kid will add one more word to the list, such as, I went to the shop and I saw rice, pulses, and oil. And the list will continue until the last kid says his word to the list he got from others.
The twist here is that no one should repeat the item once said. At first, the game seems tricky, yet it’s a great game to make them learn vocabulary along with enhancing their listening skills. You can change the list according to your wish.
5. Find The Odd One Out
Find the odd one out is the game that develops listening skills along with memorization of a piece of information given. Give them complete information and instructions about the game beforehand. Begin the game by saying a list of words, such as bread, butter, monkey, jam; the word monkey here is an odd one out as it’s an animal name and the rest of the things are food items.
You can choose a particular theme for the game or play just like that. Here the point of the game is to include an odd word (that doesn’t belong to that list) in a list of similar (same types of items or objects) words to make them use their listening and thinking skills to find out the odd one. In starting, use familiar word sets and slowly go to the difficult level (by adding less familiar words).
6. Simon Says
The classic, old, but very effective game Simon Says is still super hot among kids. Give your kids all details and instructions about the game. Begin the game by saying, ‘Simon Says, keep your hands on your head’ or ‘Simon Says, jump up high 3 times.’ And when you say them to do anything without the phrase ‘Simon Says,’ they must not do that. So, each time your child is mainly focusing on two things: they have to listen carefully to what they are supposed to do.
They need to check every time they have to do the action or not. You can add multiple instructions as well to increase the level of the game. The kids have to focus on using their listening power to memorize the given instructions. The game helps kids to enhance not only their listening skills but also helps to develop cognitive and gross motor skills.
7. Can You Recognize That Sound?
The game is all about listening carefully to all the sounds and recognizing them that what they are? The game is quite interesting, and children love to play this.
Give them complete instructions to make them aware of the game. Begin the game by blindfolding a child(if playing with a group, ask others to keep silent when a child is playing).
Walk around the room with the kid(or in the house) and make noises with items available (such as opening the door or turning on/off a light switch or throwing a ball on the floor). Ask the child what type of sound(one at a time) is that? The game is an interesting one and develops the listening skills of a child.
8. Red And Green Lights Game
Begin the game by arranging things in red color and green color that kids learned in recent theme. Make them aware by giving complete instructions. Tell them the meaning of red light is to ‘stop’ and green means ‘go”. Make a path to cover by the students to play this game.
You need to keep the things in red and green on your table. Now start the game by showing them the red objects and green objects. But it is not the signs that matter. The educator would have to speak while showing the signs. Now, to make the listening skills stronger, the educator must dodge what they are speaking.
For example, they might show the red object, but say GO! So, here the kids would have to listen pretty carefully. Finally, the kid who will reach by following correct instructions will be the winner of the game. In this game, it is crucial that the kids pay attention to what the moderator is speaking, instead of concentrating on the signs. This way, the activity becomes excellent for enhancing the listening skills of kids.
9. The Secret Message
The game can be played around the table in a small group. Begin with small phrases(such as, ‘My doll smiles’ or ‘I have a red shirt’)as this is for preschoolers. Begin with a small phrase and whisper into the ear of the kid sitting next to you, who should whisper the message to the next kid, who will continue passing the message until it reaches the last kid.
The last kid will say the message aloud. Allow kids to have their laughter moment if the message was broken and changed completely. The kid who started the process should say the correct phrase.
The game helps kids to develop their listening skills enriches their vocabulary.
10. Complete The Story
This game is all about listening to the player who is sitting on the left. Basically, to start the game, the kids must be asked to sit in a circle. Next, the educator would speak a normal and random line like ‘Jack lives in a village where there is no water.’ Now the students would have to complete the story but on the basis of what the last person has said.
This game involves concentration, reflex, and mental stimulation, as a line which is in relation to the previous line must be spoken, that too, in an instant. Therefore, the kids must listen very carefully.
Apart from enhancing the listening skills, this game also contributes by building the conversational skills of the students as they have to converse and cook up their own story based on what the player said before them!
Listening is one of the most vital skills yet is often overlooked. However, it is easy to instill them with simple games. Developing great listening skills may help kids further with good speech and language skills. It is often said and believed that being a good speaker is not it; one should be an even better listener. Listening brings in many qualities. One of them is being a knowledgeable person, as the better, you listen to people and their stories, the more you learn about the world and the people around you!
Therefore, it becomes crucial for parents and educators to inculcate listening skills right from the beginning. This is where these activities would come into use. After making consistent efforts, you can bring a difference in your kid’s overall listening abilities.
An engineer, Maths expert, Online Tutor and animal rights activist. In more than 5+ years of my online teaching experience, I closely worked with many students struggling with dyscalculia and dyslexia. With the years passing, I learned that not much effort being put into the awareness of this learning disorder. Students with dyscalculia often misunderstood for having just a simple math fear. This is still an underresearched and understudied subject. I am also the founder of Smartynote -‘The notepad app for dyslexia’,