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Inside: TONS of listening activities for kids, including listening games, active listening for kids posters, and our FREE Whole Body Listening Posters!
Being good at listening is like having a special power that helps you understand and connect with others in a really awesome way!
Listening is actually a super important life skill for children. Having good listening skills helps us to learn new things faster and understand people better.
It’s time to dive into the amazing list of listening activities for kids below so that you can start doing simple listening activities and listening games at home or school to help improve their active listening skills!
Why are Listening Skills Important for Kids?
Developing effective listening skills in kids is like building a sturdy bridge. Each conversation, story, or game lays down a new plank of understanding, connecting their thoughts and ideas.
With practice and attention, this bridge becomes strong, allowing kids to cross into deeper levels of comprehension and communication.
When you really think about it, most of our time spent AWAKE is spent listening! How crazy is that?
Let’s think about that…
A child’s day is typically spent:
✔️ interacting with others and listening to what they have to say
✔️ listening to teachers at school and following orders
✔️ listening to directions from their grown up at home
✔️ listening to music or the TV for leisure and relaxation time
✔️ listening to stories
If you don’t have good listening skills, you might miss out on important information, have trouble understanding others, and find it harder to learn new things.
It’s like trying to solve a puzzle without all the pieces!
Imagine trying to talk to a friend while wearing earmuffs.
It would be super difficult to understand each other!
It’s one of those essential life skills!
When we practice good communication skills and social skills, like taking turns, making eye contact, and using clear words, it’s like opening a special door to better listening.
You can hear and understand others much more easily. So, by working on these skills, you’re becoming a better listener, friend, and communicator overall!
Do you see just how vital it is to become an excellent listener? It can create a significant impact in every corner of our lives!
52 Listening Activities for Kids:
In this blog post, we’ve whipped up a concoction of the best listening skills activities that are not only fun but also skill-building.
Whether you’re a parent yearning to connect more deeply with your child or a teacher eager to supercharge your teaching toolbox, there are definitely some listening skills activities here for everyone.
Listening Activities for Younger Kids (Preschool to Early Elementary)
These listening activities and listening games for preschoolers to early elementary are sure to captivate young ears:
1. Whole Body Listening Activities
Did you know that you can actually show you are being an active listener through your body language?
She teaches that when you are a good listener, you are actually using your WHOLE BODY to do so.
These are the five parts to being a whole-body listener:
- Eyes are on the Speaker
- Mouth is Quiet
- Hands are to Yourself
- Your body is facing the speaker
- Your brain is thinking about what the speaker is saying
This teaching concept works well because it makes listening more concrete for children. Use this fun poster to help kids learn these concepts.
Grab your FREE Whole Body Listening posters at the bottom of this post!
2. Play Simon Says
This is one of my favorite listening games for preschoolers.
Playing Simon Says is a fun way to focus on the important skill of listening without even realizing it.
This game is perfect for younger children because it is such a simple listening game, and you can show kids what they need to do visually.
“Simon says: Clap your hands two times.”
You can do it first, and then kids can mimic you to show you that they are listening.
3. Use the HeartSmart Curriculum
Inside this social-emotional curriculum developed for ages 3-8, there is an ENTIRE week of lessons all about perspective-taking and listening for kids.
You can read all about the BEST social-emotional curriculum for elementary kids in THIS POST!
HeartSmart Social Emotional Curriculum
4. Red Light, Green Light
Green means GO. Red means STOP!
How fun was this simple game as a young kid? It is something easy to try with kids at home or students in class when you need a transition activity.
The best part about this game is that kids also get physical activity as they play.
5. Try the Hokey Pokey Song
Next, a great listening activity is having kids do the Hokey Pokey. (Put your right hand in…put your right hand out…)
This one is especially perfect for preschool-age kids!
6. Listen and Draw
Give kids verbal instructions to draw something. (Think: directed drawing without showing them)
Grab these listening mats in our social skills SEL unit for kids!
Do you know what the fun part of this game is?
Even though they all listened to the SAME directions, everyone’s drawing will be unique!
7. Musical Chairs
Playing this fun game with a larger group is an absolute blast. If you’re not familiar with how it works, here’s a straightforward breakdown:
Arrange chairs in a circle, with one less chair than there are participants. For instance, if you have ten kids playing, set up only nine chairs.
As the music plays, the kids will march around the chairs. But here’s the catch – as soon as the music stops, they must scramble to sit in a chair.
It’s a fun way to test who’s really paying attention, as those left without a chair are “out.” After each round, remove one chair until only one champion remains standing.
8. The Freeze Game
Get ready for some freeze-tastic fun! It’s as easy as this:
Dance to your heart’s content when the music plays, but here’s the twist – the moment it stops, freeze like a statue!
9. The Echo Game/ Copycat Game
Simply say something and have your kids or students repeat it back.
This is a helpful technique for teachers to ensure students pay attention and understand their assignments. It’s a simple but effective listening game for the classroom.
10. Simple Nursery Rhymes
Most little kids know the basic nursery rhymes. I’m talking about ones like “Mary Had a Little Lamb” or “Baa Baa Black Sheep.”
To grab kids’ attention, try singing a nursery rhyme they’re familiar with and see if they can listen and complete the song.
11. Go on a Nature Walk
How does a walk promote listening?
Well, it’s fun and easy too.
Take kids into the peaceful nature landscape and have them write down or tell you the sounds that they hear.
12. Rhyme Time
Listen to rhyming words and come up with more words that rhyme.
13. Scavenger Hunt
It’s like your typical scavenger hunt, only you read the clues orally, and they don’t get to read the clues off the paper.
Pssst…..Grab our FREE Nature Scavenger Hunt Activity Kit!
14. Play Hot or Cold
Hide something fun for kids to find. If they walk closer to where the object is, you tell them the clue that they are “hot” or “warm,” and the farther they walk away from the item, you tell them “cold.” This forces them to listen to your clues to determine where the hidden item is.
15. Instrument Match-Up
Play recordings of instruments and have kids match them to pictures of the instruments.
Listening Activities for Elementary and Middle School Kids
These active listening exercises for students or kids will be perfect for your home or classroom fun.
1. Listen and Build
Give verbal instructions to build something with blocks or legos and see if your kids or students can do it using their listening skills.
2. Storytime (Read-Alouds)
Reading bedtime stories is the perfect ending to a long day. It helps relax kids and also helps activate their listening skills to understand what is happening in the story.
Doing a read-aloud story at least a couple of times per week is another great listening activity for kids at school. Read a story aloud and ask questions about it afterward.
3. Try the Sound Box Game
When kids can be a little shy, the Sound Box Game is perfect for them! It can be played with just one child or in a group. You typically have most of the materials you need at home, and this game allows children to be creative!
4. Audio Books
Audiobooks can be perfect for long road trips or even at bedtime, so kids can truly use their auditory skills to understand the story without other distractions.
5. String of Words
Did you ever play this game during your childhood?
Say a phrase such as:
“I went to the grocery store and bought…”
As you go around the circle, each child adds a new item while also remembering the items said before theirs.
- The first person might say, “I went to the grocery store and bought milk.”
- The second child would say, “I went to the grocery store and bought milk and eggs.”
- The third person would say, “I went to the grocery store and bought milk, eggs, and bread.”
This is one of my favorite listening activities for kids.
6. Play Battleship
Please tell me you know this iconic listening game!
“Battleship” is a two-player strategy game where each player arranges a fleet of ships on a grid and takes turns calling out coordinates to locate and sink their opponent’s ships. The game is won when one player successfully sinks all of their opponent’s ships. It combines elements of luck and strategic thinking.
You can grab your own version HERE if you don’t have it in your collection yet!
7. Read My Mind
In the game “Read My Mind,” children team up, taking turns describing something they’re thinking of without actually saying its name.
Their teammates then try to guess what it is. The quicker they guess, the more points they earn.
As kids get better at this game, they’ll find they need fewer words to understand each other’s thoughts. This makes the game even more exciting and challenging!
8. Follow the Directions
Give a series of oral instructions and have kids follow them. Try differentiating between 2-3 step directions to see how they do.
9. Play the Game of Telephone
The classic game of telephone, also known as broken telephone, is a timeless favorite played in small groups.
Kids should sit in a circle, and one person starts by whispering a phrase to the next player. Each person passes the message along, trying to relay it accurately.
The fun part is seeing who can be the best listener as the phrase goes around and around the circle. It’s a fantastic way to challenge and improve listening skills in a playful and interactive way!
10. Follow the Story
Begin a story, and every few sentences, pick a new child to carry on from where the previous storyteller left off.
You can have the kids seated in a circle or randomly select them around the room. Let the creativity flow as the story unfolds.
11. The Blindfold Walk
You can do the blindfold walk to teach students to rely on their senses.
This is a game where one student is blindfolded, and another student will then guide the blindfolded person on their mission to walk across the classroom to their destination. (Ensure all obstacles are out of the way before playing so no one gets hurt.) This one might be best suited for older children.
12. Which One Doesn’t Belong?
Someone gives four words that should belong together in a group, and one does not belong.
Everyone else must listen and decide which word does NOT belong.
For example, cat, dog, mouse, house (House doesn’t belong because the other three items are animals)
13. Story Retell
Another fun listening skills activity that you can do anywhere, anytime!
After listening to a story (read aloud), the child must retell it in their own words using a beginning, middle, and end.
Interactive Listening Games for Kids
Interactive listening games are engaging activities that encourage active listening and participation. They often involve tasks such as guessing sounds, storytelling collaborations, or passing messages.
1. Guess the Song
This is a lively listening activity where kids listen to short snippets of songs and try to guess the song’s name. They pay close attention to melodies, lyrics, and distinctive sounds. Points can be awarded for correct guesses, adding a fun and competitive element to the game.
2. Guess the Mystery Sound
Players take turns shaking or making a sound with the box while the others listen carefully. Participants must guess what’s inside without seeing the object based solely on its sound.
3. Guided Dialogues
“Guided Dialogues” is an excellent activity where participants work with a partner.
One person talks about a chosen topic while the other listens attentively without interrupting.
4. Animal Sounds
Play recordings of different animal sounds and match them to the correct animal.
5. Whisper Down the Lane
The classic “Whisper Down the Lane” gets a listening twist. Kids sit in a line and whisper a message to the next person. Listen carefully to see how much the message transforms by the end!
Enhancing Focus and Concentration Listening Activities for Kids
In a world that’s buzzing with distractions, helping kids develop focus and concentration is like equipping them with superpowers. This section will explore five engaging listening activities that will boost concentration and focus!
1. Sound Memory Game
The Sound Memory Game is like a mental workout for young minds. This game sharpens kid’s focus by challenging them to listen carefully and remember specific sounds. To play, gather various everyday objects that produce distinct sounds (e.g., a ticking clock, a ringing bell, or rustling leaves).
Have your child listen to each sound, and then see if they can match the sound with the object.
2. Meditation and Guided Imagery
Introducing your child to meditation and guided imagery can be a game-changer for their focus and concentration. These practices encourage kids to quiet their minds, listen to their breath, and imagine peaceful scenes.
Apps like “Headspace for Kids” and “Calm” offer guided meditations specifically designed for children.
Check out our meditation mini’s in our famous Mindfulness Kit for Kids.
3. Sound Bingo
Bingo is awesome for listening because you have to really pay attention to the numbers being called out.
You must hear and recognize them quickly to mark them on your card. This helps you become a better listener and improves how you pick out and understand specific sounds. And, of course, it’s a super fun game too!
Check out our popular FEELINGS BINGO!
You could also play sound bingo, a fantastic twist on the classic game. Create bingo cards with various sounds your child might hear in their environment, like a barking dog, a honking car, or a chirping bird. They can mark the corresponding spot on their bingo card as they listen to the sounds. This game encourages active listening, focus, and sound recognition.
4. Sound Sorting
Sound Sorting is a hands-on activity that hones concentration and categorization skills. Collect various objects that produce different sounds, such as musical instruments, kitchen utensils, and nature items like leaves or stones.
Ask your child to sort these objects into groups based on the sounds they make. This exercise challenges their ability to differentiate between sounds and sharpen their focus.
5. Active Listening Challenges
Active Listening Challenges turn everyday experiences into opportunities for kids to practice concentration.
For instance, encourage your child to listen closely while reading a story or watching a movie and then share their thoughts or answer questions about the content. This boosts their focus and promotes active engagement in the learning process.
Enhancing Multisensory Listening Activities for Kids
Developing strong listening skills isn’t just about hearing words; it’s about immersing yourself in a rich, multisensory experience. In this section, we’ll explore five imaginative activities that nurture a child’s ability to listen not only with their ears but also with their whole being.
1. Cooking with Listening Instructions
What a deliciously educational way to enhance your child’s multisensory listening skills. Choose a simple recipe and read it aloud, ensuring your child pays close attention. As you work through the steps together, your child must follow the verbal directions while engaging their senses of touch, taste, and smell.
2. Art Projects and Verbal Directions
As you introduce an art activity, provide verbal directions that your child must follow. Encourage them to use their imagination, touch, and sight to bring their artistic vision to life. This fosters the connection between verbal instructions and creative ex+pression.
3. Dance to the Rhythm (A+ in Listening Activities for Kids)
Play music with different tempos and styles and encourage your child to move to the beat. While they dance, they’re listening and feeling the music with their bodies, improving their sense of rhythm and coordination.
4. Outdoor Sound Mapping
Equip kids with a notebook and encourage them to record the different sounds they encounter, whether it’s chirping birds, rustling leaves, or distant traffic. This activity not only sharpens their listening skills but also deepens their connection to the natural world.
Encouraging Empathy Through Listening Activities for Kids
Empathy is a remarkable skill that can improve relationships and build a more compassionate and connected world. These listening activities are designed to not only enhance your child’s listening skills but also promote empathy, encouraging them to appreciate and understand the emotions, experiences, and perspectives of others.
1. Sharing Circle
Create a safe and open space where your child can share their thoughts and feelings, and also listen to others’ experiences. Through active listening, they learn to appreciate the perspectives and emotions of their peers, fostering empathy in the process.
Variation: Divide students into groups of two.
One of them will be the storyteller, and the other will be the listener.
The storyteller gets a cool story to share like it’s their own adventure.
Without writing anything down, the listener can join in the talk by asking questions or jumping in with thoughts, just like when friends chat. This game helps you practice listening and talking skills in a fun way!
2. Reverse Role-Playing
Encourage kids to take on the role of another person and see the world from their perspective. This activity helps your child understand different viewpoints and feelings, ultimately strengthening their empathy.
3. Storytelling with Feelings
Ask your child to create a story while focusing on the emotions and experiences of the characters. This process allows them to explore the emotional aspects of storytelling, cultivating empathy as they connect with the characters’ feelings.
4. Act Out the Emotion
This is an amazing listening skills game! Give kids a list of emotions and have them act out each one. By physically expressing emotions, kids better understand how emotions affect people and can develop greater empathy.
5. Practicing Active Listening in Conversations
Encourage your child to engage in thoughtful conversations with friends, family, or peers. During these conversations, they can focus on practicing active listening (refer to our free poster). They can pay close attention to what others say, ask questions, and offer supportive responses.
Technology and Listening
In today’s digital age, technology offers us various tools and resources to foster our kids’ listening skills. From captivating podcasts to interactive audiobooks, educational apps, and even virtual field trips, the world of technology opens up a treasure chest of possibilities.
1. Podcasts for Kids
There are a multitude of child-friendly podcasts available, such as “Wow in the World” for curious minds, “Story Pirates” for imaginative adventures, and “But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids” for answering the whys and hows of the world.
2. Audiobooks for Learning
Audiobooks aren’t just a delight for the ears; they’re a potent tool for learning.
Platforms like Audible for Kids and Epic! provide a vast library of educational audiobooks. For instance, you can explore titles like “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” for fun storytelling or “Wonder” for inspiring life lessons.
3. Educational Apps and Games
Check out the best free educational websites for kids.
4. Virtual Field Trips
Virtual field trips are a fantastic way to nurture listening skills while exploring the world from home. Websites like National Geographic Kids and Google Arts & Culture offer virtual tours of amazing places. Take a journey through the Egyptian pyramids or dive into the depths of the ocean, all while engaging your child’s listening skills.
5. Listening Comprehension Worksheets
The Role of Parents and Educators When Teaching about Active Listening
Our support, patience, and creative sparks can make a world of difference in helping our little ones master the art of listening.
Here’s the game plan:
- Be the Listening Role Model: Kids learn best when they see it in action. Show them what it means to be an active listener by being one yourself. Lock in eye contact, nod along, and respond thoughtfully to what they share.
- Craft a Mindful Atmosphere: Let’s transform our homes and classrooms into listening sanctuaries. Minimize those distracting elements, weave a serene vibe, and provide comfy corners where kids can immerse themselves in the art of listening.
- Sprinkle Positivity All Around: When our young ones rock at listening, let’s celebrate their wins with heaps of encouragement. Positive vibes are the turbo boost that motivates them to polish their listening skills.
- Embrace the Art of Patience and Flexibility: Every child is like a unique puzzle, and they’ll snap those pieces together at their own pace. Let’s be patient and customize activities to match their age and interests.
FREE Whole Body Listening Poster
Free Whole Body Listening Poster
As promised, here is your FREE Whole Body Listening Poster to use at home or in your classroom!
Final Thoughts on Listening Activities for Kids
Listening skills are like secret superpowers we all need in life!
Whether at home or in class, you can make learning to listen super fun!
We can transform young kids into expert listeners with simple games, music, stories, and more.
And guess what?
The HeartSmart Curriculum has even more cool tricks up its sleeve to teach us how to be awesome listeners. So, mix in those fun listening activities, and you’ve got a winning formula for success!
HeartSmart Social Emotional Curriculum
I hope you love these listening activities for kids, and I’d love to hear your favorite listening activity from the list above. Share in the comments below!