Fun ways to help children become better listeners

Practice makes perfect. That is particularly true with respect to developing strong auditory processing skills, as the more your child practices listening to spoken words, the more proficient he will become at accurately hearing those words and interpreting them correctly. To help children improve their listening skills, I created a fun set of listening activities for kids that will challenge them to listen carefully to a description of an item and identify whether or not the description accurately describes a corresponding picture.

Listening activities for kids

Start with the beginning-level worksheets that feature only two sentences for each picture. Before you read aloud the two sentences, direct your child to look closely at the picture and ask him to briefly describe what he sees. Then, carefully and clearly read the two sentences associated with the picture. Once your child has heard both sentences, you can reread the first sentence and ask your child whether it accurately describes the picture. Then repeat that process for the second sentence. After your child has selected which sentence accurately describes the picture, review with your child why the other sentence did not accurately describe the picture and encourage your child to draw a line through the incorrect sentence.

The intermediate-level worksheets will challenge your child to listen to four sentences for each picture and to select the one, two or three sentences that accurately describe the picture. The more sentences your child must listen to and correctly interpret, the more challenging the activity becomes.

You can extend your child’s learning by asking him to cut out interesting pictures from a magazine. Once he has selected a few pictures, say aloud one sentence for each picture that either describes the picture accurately or does not describe the picture accurately. After each sentence, let your child decide whether the sentence you said was accurate or inaccurate. You can get your child’s input regarding the way he wants to label your descriptions, as he may call them “true” and “false,” “right” and “wrong,” or “correct” and “incorrect.”

Add one more fun dimension to the game by writing the words “yes” and “no” or “true” and “false” on different colored index cards. Glue each card to a popsicle stick or tape it to a pencil to make small signs your child can hold up in response to each sentence you say. You can increase the difficulty of this game by saying compound sentences that include two different statements separated by the word “and,” such as “The carpet is blue and the dog is sleeping on the carpet.” With longer sentences, your child will need to listen carefully to the entire sentence and decide whether the entire sentence is true or false.

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