I wrote on this previous Literacy Spot post that literacy encompasses all elements of communicating; creating and using speaking, listening, reading and writing.
Learning to listen attentively is important for both social interaction and academic success. Looking for opportunities to play simple listening games with your child will help to more finely attune their listening skills and develop auditory discrimination skills. Here are five simple games to play with your child;
1. Playing with Loud and Soft: Experiment with a drum or pot and spoon, first making loud sounds and then very quiet ones. Get progressively louder, then quiet again. Repeat with stamping feet on the floor and clapping hands.
2. What sound is that? Collect four or five different sounds (for example, paper to tear, a bell or maraca, two blocks to hit together, a spoon and mug to stir with, a pair of scissors). Make a sound with one object out of view of your child (under the table or behind a small box) and ask your child to guess what they just heard.
3. Playing around with rhyming words: Children love to listen to silly nursery rhymes which you can make by altering the rhyming words of familiar nursery rhymes. For example,
“Twinkle twinkle little bat,
How I wonder where you’re at”
“Baa baa black sheep
Have you any eggs?
No sir, no sir,
But I have some pegs.”
Younger children love ‘spotting’ the funny rhymes whilst older children (4 years+) will enjoy making the rhymes with you.
4. Where’s that sound? Choose one sound which is familiar to your child (for example, a drum or maraca), place a blindfold on your child and move around the room and make the sound, asking your child to point to where they hear the sound. Then let your child have a turn making the noise whilst you are blindfolded.
5. Matching rhyming words: An activity best suited to children aged 4 and up, collect a variety of toys and small objects which rhyme. For example, toy cat and a hat, a block and a sock, a toy frog and dog, a toy car and a small star, a toy train and plane. Present two pairs at a time and ask your child to match the ones which rhyme. Once they are familiar with the game, present three items (a rhyming pair and one other item) and ask them to find the one which doesn’t rhyme.