Try These At-Home Listening Activities

By Rebecca Vitkus

While listening skills are practiced every day in preschool and kindergarten classrooms, it is up to parents to continue building those listening skills at home. Former kindergarten teacher Ilene Vitkus shared some of her classroom tactics to make at-home listening activities both fun and beneficial.

Draw This!

Bring out the crayons and paper and instruct your children to follow your directions and create an artistic masterpiece. Use instructions like “draw a circle,” then add more to the picture as the game progresses. Include directional phrases like “above the square,” “to the right of the triangle” and “at the bottom of the page.” When you are finished, show them the picture you’ve created and see how well they were listening by having them examine their own work.

Tip: Add a seasonal twist by drawing a snowman or a Christmas tree!

20 Questions

This game encourages both listening and comprehension skills as children try to guess what you are thinking. Imagine a person, place or thing that your children would recognize and allow them to ask up to 20 “yes” or “no” questions before they guess what the item is. This game works in reverse, too! Let your children think of items while you try to guess what they are. Easily adaptable and fun for traveling, this game can provide endless entertainment while boosting careful listening abilities.

Interactive Story Time

Use your usual story time to sharpen your children’s listening skills by creating a discussion about the book. Ask about the characters and plot, but make sure you slip in a few tricky questions to make sure the kids were listening closely. What kind of animal is Mickey? Was Madeline’s old house covered in vines in London or Paris? Didn’t you love the Grinch’s blue fur?

Red Light, Green Light, Purple Light — Oh, My!

Add a twist to the usual “Red Light, Green Light” game by adding even more colorful instructions. As usual, players can run toward you on “Green light” and must stop on “Red light,” but make the game more advanced by adding additional instructions, much like “Simon Says.” Tell the kiddos to hop toward you on “Purple light,” skip across the room on “Orange light,” turn around themselves on “Pink light” and sit down on “White light.” Feel free to personalize the game however you wish, with as many colors and instructions as the kids can handle.

Going on a road trip?

Don’t leave the learning behind! There are plenty of on-the-go activities that enhance listening skills in a creative and fun way.

Take a break from the apps and naps and encourage social interaction through these travel- friendly listening games:

  • Try playing “I Packed my Grandmother’s Trunk,” where each family member lists an item starting with the next letter of the alphabet, repeating the list until the “zebra” or “zipper” is packed.
  • A fun road trip activity is creating a story together, line-by-line, in which one person begins a story and each family member adds a sentence until you reach “The End.”

Children learn by example! Be sure to set a good one by actively listening when your child is speaking.