03 January 2009

Listening, Attention and Comprehension (part 2 - Activity Ideas)

Good listening skills are important for language development and a child with good listening skills will be more aware of the sounds of speech and pick up new vocabulary. When working on communication / listening games it is good to encourage the child to make eye contact with you when you are talking and to be still, try and sit opposite the child while administering activities and work in a quiet environment. It is also important to keep the sessions short and frequently praise and reward. Here are some activituy ideas to help children develop their listening skills. Please comment on this post and let me know any others you may have!

Go game around room
Required Response: Children stand still and wait for go signal before moving along a line of chairs. Make the children wait a little longer each time.
Equipment: A line of chairs used as markers

Go game at table

Children put brick in a box (or build a tower) to 'go' signal. Make the signal quieter and then cover the lips and whisper.
Equipment: Bricks/box

Stop game around room
Children move around until they hear 'stop' signal. The signal can be the word 'stop', a clap, a drum or other instrument or noise.
Equipment: Instruments to make 'stop' signal noise

Stop game at table
One child gives the stop signal to a target word while the adult carries out a task, e.g. Stop me when you see a car (turn pictures over)
Equipment: Variety of picture cards (
Orchard Toys Flash cards are good)

Wake up
The children all pretend to be asleep and when they hear the alarm clock they all jump up
Equipment: Alarm clock (or recording of an alarm clock ringing/beeping)

Giants Treasure
The giant sits on a chair in the middle of the room blindfolded, under his chair are a set of keys. The children take it in turns to try and get the keys and return to their seat without the giant hearing them.
Equipment: Blindfold, keys

Point to a sound
Blindfold the child and stand behind them. Shake keys or quiet noisemaker above, below and to the side of the child and get them to point where they hear the sound.
Equipment: Blindfold, keys, bells, rice/dried lentils/dried peas in a small container

Following a moving sound
Blindfold the child and then move away and shake the noisemaker, get the child to follow the noise and as child approaches change direction repeating the noise frequently. After a few goes allow child to catch you!
Equipment: Blindfold, choice of noisemakers as above

Changing Action
First teach different actions to two noises, e.g. drum - run, bell - jump. Children move around room changing action to each signal. Add more noises/instructions as the child learns the game.
Equipment: A variety of musical instruments

Rhythm 1
Adult beats a drum/claps and the child must copy back the rhythm.
Equipment: Drum (if used)

Rhythm 2
Adult says a word/sentence and the child claps/beats a drum for the syllables/rhythm
Equipment: Drum (if used)

Simon says
Child listens to various instructions - if not prefaced by Simon says they do not do the action.

Fetch me games
Place a variety of
picture cards and ask the child to fetch a specific picture (gradually increase the number of items to choose from/the distance away/the complexity of the instruction etc).
Equipment: Variety of picture cards - cards from lotto games for example;
picture word lotto or shopping list are a good alternative to flashcards, the cards from red dog blue dog are good for more complex instructions - e.g. give me the yellow rabbit (from a selection including other colour rabbits and other yellow items)

Listening Games
Child listens to the sound and matches it with a picture
Equipment: Sounds tapes / CDs for example:
Crash Bang Wallop, Cock-a-doodle moo, Soundtracks games

Matching musical instruments
The adult shakes one of the instruments behind a screen and the child must find their corresponding musical instrument.
Equipment: Two sets of musical instruments, screen to make sound behind (a box turned on its side makes an easy screen!)

Posting games
Similar to fetch me, only posting specific pictures on request.
Equipment: Shoe box with slit for posting, variety of
picture flashcards

General noise awareness
Get the child to shut their eyes and identify all of the surrounding environmental noises - repeat in different environments to notice different sounds.

Identifying quiet and loud noises
The adult uses a shaker and makes a quiet or a loud sound. The child must identify whether the sound was loud or quiet and put a brick in the corresponding box. Some children may find it easier if the boxes are labelled with the words or symbols.
Equipment: Shaker, bricks, boxes, labels

Identifying animals
Put 4 model animals or pictures on the table and imitates one of their sounds, e.g moo, and the child must find point to correct animal.
Equipment: Toy animals/animal pictures

Identifying objects by the sounds they make
Put 4 objects/pictures that make familiar sounds on the table and imitates one of the sounds and the child points to correct object.
Equipment: Objects such as telephone, toy fire engine, clock etc

Listening to a story and reacting to specific words.
Read a simple animal story and get the child must make the correct corresponding animal noise every time they hear an animal mentioned.
Equipment: Short and simple animal story books (e.g. Elmer's Friends)

Listening a simple story.
As above but child claps or raises their hand when they hear a specific word.
Equipment: Short and simple story books

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