Listening is an essential life skill for growing toddlers. After all, it’s one of the first stepping stones when learning a language.
Helping your little one develop his or her listening skills will make it easier for them to build relationships, solve problems, and think independently. Good listening skills are also one of the pillars of good communication (like reading, writing, and speaking).
This article lists some active listening games you can try with your little ones at home.
12 Fun Listening Games for Toddlers
Learning how to listen won’t always come easy to some children. And even though their listening skills will develop over time, it’ll be much easier to help hone these skills if they’re interested in what they’re listening to — and that’s where playing listening games comes in.
Red Light, Green Light
Odd One Out
First on our list is a classic game of Simon Says. This exercise teaches your child to obey all commands that start with “Simon says.”
For example, if Simon says, “Simon says put your hands on your waist” everyone playing the game should place their hands on their waist. However, if Simon says “touch your nose” without saying “Simon says” first, they shouldn’t do what Simon says.
If your child follows the command, they’ll be disqualified until the next round!
To play Broken Telephone, you’ll need at least three players.
The rules are simple: the first person will think of a word or phrase to whisper into the next player’s ear. The listener will relay the same message to the next person until it reaches the last person. The one receiving the final message will say the word or phrase aloud.
The person who started the game will announce the correct message — and everyone will learn how much the word or phrase changed (or not) through the “telephone line.”
Since you’ll be playing with kids, we recommend starting with simple words before progressing to longer phrases and sentences.
If your kid enjoys music, then this game is perfect for them. All you need is a speaker and an open space where your kids can dance!
Play the music and let your kids dance to their heart’s content. When you stop and pause the music, everyone should freeze! If the players show signs of movement, they’re out of the game. Keep playing until the winner is the last person standing!
Just like musical chairs, musical chairs is a game of elimination. It follows the same concept except that when the music stops, the players need to sit down on the nearest chair. The last person without a chair to sit on is out of the game.
This game also raises the stakes by removing a chair after each round. Feel free to play with pillows instead of chairs for a softer landing!
This listening game bases itself on the actual traffic lights on the street. And there are two things to remember: green means go, and red means stop.
Prepare your playing area by clearly marking the starting and finish line, and telling everyone how to move quickly and safely. Assign a “traffic cop” to issue either a “green light!” or “red light!” command.
Start the game with all the players along the starting line. After saying “green light!” everyone should race to the finish line and stop after hearing “red light!” Players that move after hearing the “green” command should move back to the starting line.
Start a new round when everyone has crossed the finish line.
Get your kid’s body moving and hone their listening skills by encouraging them to sing along to action rhymes! Apart from letting your little ones sing, your little ones will need to act out the words from the song.
For example, your child can move their feet to the Hokey Pokey or follow the footsteps of The Wheels on the Bus!
The “Odd One Out” game tests your child’s listening skills and memory. Recite a string of words that belong in the same category and include one word that doesn’t fit in. For example:
- Apple, mango, dog, banana, pear (dog is the odd one out because it’s an animal and not a fruit)
- Broccoli, pineapple, pumpkin, spinach, carrots (pineapple is the odd one out because it’s a fruit and not a vegetable)
The whole point of the exercise is to help your kids classify concepts into different categories and choose which one doesn’t belong to the group.
Guess the Sound
Play Spot the Sound and use household items as props! As the name suggests, the players will need to listen carefully to sounds from everyday objects and activities (for example, switching on the faucet, knocking on the door, and turning on the blender)
To make the activity more challenging, players should wear a blindfold or face backward. The player with the most correct guesses wins the game!
Animal Sounds Quiz
This listening game feels like a wild safari adventure! It follows the same rules as the Guess the Sound exercise, except it’s the animal edition.
You need to do is play different animal noises and make your child guess the animal making the sound. To make the game more interesting, use flash cards and make your little one point to the animal that makes the sound.
Outdoor Sound Hunt
A walk in the park (or any place outdoors) is one of the best mindful listening games you can try with your child. This exercise will help them develop a greater sense of awareness for their surroundings.
Take a walk in your backyard, along your street, or a nearby park and listen to the sounds. Ask your child to identify the sounds they hear, from the chirps of the birds to the rustling of the leaves.
Team Story Game
Enjoy a family night indoors with a team story game! The point of the activity is to construct a story, and every player is only allowed to say one sentence. You can set themes (dogs, Christmas, or dessert) so it’s easier for everyone to pitch in their single-sentence part of the narrative.
This activity teaches your little one to listen carefully to other people’s ideas and use their creativity to make the story as fun (and hilarious) as possible!
Tune in to Audiobooks
Turn your reading sessions into a fun listening activity with audiobooks! Listening to a book can help train your child’s listening comprehension skills instead of depending on text or images. Just search for age-appropriate audiobooks online or ask your local library for recommendations.
You can even do the storytelling yourself and end the night with a good bedtime story. Your child can close their eyes and let their imagination run wild as you read them a good book.
Improve Active Listening Skills with Fun Games
Active listening is an essential skill that will help your little one communicate better. And just like any other skill, it’s best to get an early start to prepare your child for grade school. Try out these listening games for preschoolers and hone your child’s active listening skills one step at a time.
Need more ideas on how to make learning fun for your kids? Check out the Rayito de Sol blog.