What can you hear? An activity to develop your children’s listening skills...
When doing any of these activities ensure you minimise distractions, turn the TV or radio off, ensure you have your child’s attention and carry out the activity in a quiet place.
Talking to your baby is the best way to develop their listening skills. Look at them, gain eye contact and use lots of facial expressions. Watch as your baby engages and responds to you and in their own way communicates with you. Feeding and personal care times are ideal for doing this as well as when you are playing with them. Encourage your babies listening skills by playing some music whilst they play.
You could also use an object that makes a particular sound to play a listening game, for example a bell or a toy. Get your child’s attention through making the sound so they can hear it and look for it. Initially make the sound in front of them and then repeat this several times. Once they are used to the sound, then you can change where you make the sound - play it behind them, in front of them, to the side of them and above them. You could also take your child outside to listen to the sounds within the garden and enable them to listen to their surroundings.
Encourage children to listen to the different sounds in a room. You can do this in different rooms as there will be different sounds. You could also do in the garden, can you hear dogs barking, rustling trees, birds?
Encourage children to predict what sounds they might hear in a certain room such as the kitchen or the garden. Then they can put their predictions to the test.
They could create a tally of how many times they hear each noise, for example in the garden how many times they hear a voice, or a dog bark, or a bird, or a lawnmower. You could record sounds and ask children what they think it is and where they might find it?
You can develop this game in many ways either using the internet to find sounds, games online or by being creative with your own sounds. You can also make this into a game with toddlers and pre-schoolers. For example...
What am I…? You could make the sound of different animals and get them to guess what you are.
"Listen …'Miaow’ (‘woof’ ‘moo’ ‘baa’) what am I? " and then they can have a turn and you could guess.
Remember to ensure there is minimal disruption or background noise when playing these games so children can really focus and concentrate.