Listening Skills

To develop good listening skills, a child needs to know vocabulary & grammar. You can start to develop good listening skills early on during play, yes play! Below I have some fun games to play with your child and learn helpful vocabulary and grammar structures. Make sure you have fun and praise your child for good listening!

Top 5 games that target listening skills

1. Simon Says

I believe this game was designed to trick children into learning how to follow directions and improve listening abilities. According to Wikipedia  this game has been around since 1264. Pretty cool if you ask me!

How To Play: The leader says "Simon says.....and then a direction. For example, the leader says "Simon says turn around." Everyone playing has to turn around. If the leader does not say "Simon says" before giving a direction, then the direction is not to be followed. If a person does follow a direction without hearing "Simon says" first, he or she loses. 

Why Play? This works on following directions and attention. 

2. Treasure Hunt

This is my own invention to work on receptive language or listening abilities.

How To Play: Hide a "prize" somewhere in the house. Give your child directions to follow to find the treasure. Feel free to be silly. For example, if you hide a toy under the bed. First say, jump 3 times. Touch your toes. Walk through the door. Pick up the bear and put it down. Look under the bed....Children will find it funny.

Why Play? This game will work on following directions and listening. You can make it as easy or hard as you want to!

3. Clean Up Game

This may be the easiest to do as we need or should clean up every day!

How To Play: Take turns giving directions for what to clean up. Have your child give you directions and you give your child directions. You child will have fun telling mommy and daddy what to do!

Why Play?: The house will get cleaned AND your child will work on listening. Multi-tasking at its best!

4. Sticker Game

I love using stickers during therapy. For some reason, they are extremely motivating for children. 

How To Play:There are many versions of the "sticker game," my own invention. Simple give directions and then reward a child with a sticker if they follow the direction. Or,  you can make a picture and tell your child where to put the sticker. 

Why Play?: Kids will work very hard for a sticker!

5. Reading

If you only have time to try one game today, try reading! It really is the best way to build vocabulary skills and really all language skills. 

How To Play: When reading with your child, don't just rush through and read the words. Instead, point to pictures while you read. Talk about the illustrations. Ask feeling does the character feel? Ask other WH questions like when, where, who? You can even start asking "prediction" questions...what do you think will happen next. Your child may not be able to answer these questions; however, you can answer the questions! Talk about your thinking process. Your child will learn how to answer questions and how to think about stories by listening to you!

Why Play?: Instilling a love for reading at a young age will only benefit your child! While reading, you work on vocabulary, listening abilities, grammar, story structure, answering name it!

What other things should my child work on to improve listening skills?

To be able to follow directions and listen well, children need to a have:

  1. Solid vocabulary base (they need to understand what they hear!) Read about how to improve vocabulary to help listening skills here. 
  2. Good working memory. Click here for information on working memory and tips on how to practice memory.

Bridget is an ASHA certified, practicing speech language pathologist. She is passionate about providing parents with information on child speech and language development as well as provide functional, easy activities to do at home! Parents have the power to make a real difference.

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