Listening is different from hearing. It is one of the concepts that struck me when I was training to be a Kindermusik educator three years ago.
The same goes for seeing. You see something in your line of vision. But it doesn’t mean that you actually see it. It’s like when you’re reading and your mind is a million miles away. You read the words, turn the pages, but then suddenly realize that you don’t have any idea about what you have just read!
In the same manner, instead of emptily looking with our eyes, observing carefully is something that should be trained and cultivated.
Games for Attentive Watching
I Spy – Playing “I Spy” either with a book or your surroundings will provide hours of fun as you look carefully for what is being asked for. This is also a listening exercise. I remember playing this game when Little T was younger and we were learning phonics. I would say, “I spy with my little eye something that starts with ‘buh.’” We also made it into a guessing game: “I spy with my little eye something that is round, flat, and used for eating.”
Games for Attentive Listening
Listening Ear Massage – In Kindermusik classes, teachers always ask children to massage their ears from top to bottom. It is a Brain Gym activity that improves listening and memory skills. So next time you want your child to listen, try this simple exercise before saying what you want to say.
Simon Says – Play this classic game with your child in its original version or make up your own. We play this anywhere, even in our car. “Mama says clap three times then pinch your nose!” My kids love it!
Sound Bingo – We love sound bingo games! We have the ABC Sound Bingo by DoRe&Me. But you can easily make your own version using this free resource from Lesson Sense. Basically, you’ll listen to a sound and look for the matching picture on your bingo card. This will provide hours of fun!
Books to Read
We love the character Big Anthony in Tomie dePaola’s Strega Nona books! Big Anthony is Strega Nona’s bumbling assistant who DOESN’T listen and observe at all. We had fun spotting instances of when he is being inattentive and causes havoc around him!