Listening is such an important skill for younger children and even adults. There’s no better way to practice good listening skills with young children than through simple games.
Walk the Plank
This simple listening game is a fun way to practice early listening skills with your preschooler or older toddler. We got out our bricks to play this game for toddlers. Ours are the Melissa & Doug cardboard bricks (affiliate link). They are a lot of fun for imaginative play. If you don’t have bricks you can use construction paper or even colored painter’s tape on the floor for this activity.
I set the bricks up in different patterns and challenged my son to walk on it without touching any of the yellow bricks. We did several variations and I made them harder each time. We called it “Walk the Plank” and pretended the floor had sharks swimming around. If he touched a yellow brick he would fall in and have to start over. “Again! Again!” He kept asking. It kept us entertained for the better part of an hour.
I love this listening game with toddlers because it helps to develop balance, coordination, patterns, color recognition, and imaginative play. Plus, anything that keeps us happy indoors on a very cold winter day is a win in mom’s book!
Listening Memory Game
This is a twist on the classic game of Memory, but it’s Sound Memory.
- Fill your plastic eggs with different materials.
- Fill 2 eggs with each different material.
- Mix the eggs up.
- Try to match them just by shaking and listening to the different sounds. The first person picks up two eggs and shakes them. If they don’t match, set them back down and the next person picks up two eggs to shake and see if they match.
I like the way these eggs are striped so he wouldn’t get confused and start matching them by color. In the different eggs I put a penny, 2 lima beans, rice, and macaroni. It’s also lots of fun to have your child choose the items to put inside the eggs.
Beware of Crocodiles Game
This is a listening game to practice different skill such as letters, numbers, shapes, or colors. You can write different shapes or letters on index cards or put specific objects at the end like blocks or plastic animals.
Your child will jump over the crocodiles to find and bring back whatever you ask them to. Tell them the object or card you are looking for before they jump over the crocodiles because then they will practice remembering what it is as they move down the path.
For example, “Watch out for crocodiles and bring back the card that has a circle on it.” or “Beware of crocodiles and bring back the red block.” Read more about how we set up the Beware of Crocodiles Game here.
Simon Says is great fun for two people or a small group to play. Even older kids love to play this game.
I’ve played this game with my class and let a student lead. They loved it.
One change of rules that I make for preschool aged children is that nobody is “out”. I just say, “Oh Simon didn’t say touch your head.” and then I move on and continue to play.
Play a Freeze Dance game! It is a great way to get moving. Turn the music on and move your body to the beat. Play fast music with a quick beat and slow music too.
When the music stops, freeze your body right where it is. This is a fun game to play with the whole family or a large group. Let everyone take a turn to start and stop the music.
Red Light Green Light
This game is great for a large group of children.
One person stands on one side of the room or yard. They are in charge of saying “red light” while facing away from the other players or “green light” while turning and facing the group. The other players stand on the opposite side of the room or yard.
Green means walk or run. Red means freeze. If anyone moves after “red light” is said, they go back to the start. The first person to touch the person that is giving the commands wins and becomes in charge of saying “red light green light”.
Sound Scavenger Hunt
Going on a listening scavenger hunt is a great listening game. You can play around the house. Find something that makes a loud noise. Find something that makes a tiny noise.
Sounds to Find:
- water splashing
Mom on the Side has a printable listening scavenger hunt to use outside while going for a walk.
Musical chairs is a great game. Put chairs in a circle, one less than the amount of people playing. Walk in circle around the chairs. When the music stops, sit in a chair. The person that doesn’t have a chair is out.
Then, remove a chair, turn the music on, and play another round. Keep playing until there is only one player left. This is a game that is best for older preschoolers.
Which Word Doesn’t Belong?
This is a good game for introducing new vocabulary. Say a string of words and ask your preschooler which one doesn’t belong.
There are different ways to go about this. Maybe your words are a part of different categories such as colors “red, giraffe, purple” and they would notice giraffe doesn’t belong. Or maybe you’re practicing rhyming words so your child is picking the word that doesn’t rhyme. “feel, meal, shoe”.
Those strings of words can be really challenging for a preschooler. Start simple with three words where one is the only different one such as “green, green, blue” or “dog, cat, cat”.
Mosswood Connections has an active listening game called Do as I Say, Not as I do.
All About Learning Press has a funny game that improves listening skills called, Mashed Potatoes.