I could easily say that listening is one of the behaviors that I often struggle with. It is very easy to forget that listening is a skill, that needs developing just like walking or reading. Here are some great activities to promote listening without a battle.
Pick-up game: this is great at pick up time or at transition. Depending on the age of the child you can use 1-2 or 3 step instructions. You can keep the game going to see who can do the most steps. Start the game like this, ” I need to pick up one red wooden block.” Then add steps as the child progresses. “Now, I need one red wooden block and a little person.” This can also be a great multiple child game. I know I always have more one thing laying on the floor.
Simon Says: an oldie but goody, everyone loves Simon Says. This is also great if you need to get some energy out. It can also be easily modified for the younger ones.
Talk to the Puppet: puppets are the best for getting kids to listen, so if you might be struggling at pick up or transition time. Let the puppet do the talking, well why not, it really works.
Interactive Reading: make a favorite book a listening game, by asking your children “What did this character say?” or “I forgot what happens on this page.” You will be amazed at what your child remembers.
Cooking Together: this is a great way to not only explore listening skills, “I need 2 eggs from the fridge can you get it” but to have a great math experience also.
Play a folder game: I choose folder games over board games for the younger children. They are just not so over whelming and a bit more developmentally appropriate for toddlers and early preschool. But, for the preschoolers Candy Land, Ants in your Pants and many other early preschool games are great.
Let’s just be plain silly: play a silly rhyme game. They will love it and will help promote early reading skills. A silly game of follow the leader with this game you get a bonus of burning some extra energy. I like to do an animal parade, to see if they remember what type of animal we will do next.
I know that this will not solve all the selective hearing moments. But, listening skills are essential to our children’s success in school, so why not practice with some games and fun, they will not even know they are listening.