Preschoolers aren’t the people who come to mind when you think about listening skills. In fact, parents will attest to the fact that children rarely listen. But listening is one of the most important skills you can teach your little ones. By improving your children’s listening skills, you also improve their ability to develop speech and language skills along with their reading skills and comprehension.
Even if you are sending them to the best kindergarten school, which means you can count on talented, qualified, and wonderful teachers to help your kids develop these skills, it wouldn’t hurt to incorporate listening activities into your daily routine.
You can play this around the dinner table, or anytime you have about three members present. Start with single words before you move up to phrases. That helps your child get better at listening. Make up a word or sentence and whisper it into your child’s ear.
Your little one will need to whisper that word to the next family member and this continues until the message is passed around the table. The last person will say the message out loud. The end results are often hilarious and teaches the importance of communication in a fun way.
Use this game to get your kids to pay attention. It is ideal for sharpening their focus and making them listen to instructions. For every instruction you call out with “Simon says to put your hands on your ears,” or “Simon says to jump five times,” your child is doing two things nearly at once: listening to you and following the order.
The best part is, not only are you helping your children develop their listening skills, kids love this game. They usually giggle their way through the instructions, and it can be quite difficult not to move. That’s a definite advantage. Not only are they learning, but they are also having fun as well.
This is another favorite. What you need to do is to play some music. You must also have enough space where you and the kids can dance. Hit play and stop it every now and again. As soon as the music stops, everyone in the game must freeze. As your children refine their listening skills, you’ll see your kids stop as soon as they hear the music. That’s a huge improvement from when they started, as kids often take a bit longer to realize that the music has stopped and that they must stop dancing.
You can use art to get your kids to work on their listening skills. Prepare a pen and paper. Or, if you want, even colored pencils. Then proceed to draw a scenario and have your kids guess at the drawings. However, this also means you need to have a bit skill for drawing things. If your sketches resemble chicken scrawl more than anything else, though, you’ll want to skip this one and move on to the other suggestions on this list.
When to the Zoo and Saw…
This is a more advanced game than some of the others as it involves more than listening. It requires your kids to work on their memorization skills as well. To play the game, you’ll start of by saying: “I went to the zoo and I saw a monkey.” The next one will repeat that statement and then add another animal, so it will go like this: “I went to the zoo and I saw a monkey and a snake.” The players cannot repeat an animal.
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This can be a little bit tougher for your little ones as they not only need to listen, they must also memorize the animals. While they don’t need to mention the animals in the same order they were said, it’s going to get tougher to remember all the animals the longer the game gets.
What Sound is That?
The game involves listening to everyday sounds. Your kids will need to recognize what they are. To make the game even more fun, blindfold a child and ask her to turn around. Now, when she’s ready, walk around the room. Make noises with everyday items. Open the fridge. Switch the tap water. Boil a kettle. Whap a spoon against the wall. Close the door. This might be a good game to get your child to guess at the sounds.
Walk in the Garden
If you have ample space in the garden, then take your kids for a walk. Then ask them what they hear. Can they hear the birds? What about the rustle of the leaves when the breeze moves past them? What about the barking dogs or the sound of your feet walking barefoot in soft earth? What can they hear? This isn’t just a listening, exercise, though. Exposure to nature promotes relaxation too.
Kids who listen better are also more capable of socializing and communicating effectively—more skills that your kids will need later in life. Children who are sensitive enough to listen are also capable of coping with situations at home and school.