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Study Skills and Attention

Second stage activities to develop listening skills

Ideas to Help

The following are some games you can play to develop the child’s listening ability.  

CDs, shaken bells or a familiar noisemaker would be suitable noises for the child to move to. Your child may clap their hands quietly, move his/her head, or wave a quiet toy (e.g. a waver made from thin strips of coloured paper sellotaped to an old toilet roll spool). He/she must stop and start the activity as the noise from the radio etc. stops and starts. instrument, they have to dance.  When the music stops they must stop or quickly sit on the floor. This game can be competitive if the last person to stop moving/sit on the floor is ‘out’ of the game. This game can be made harder if the child has to move in a certain way for different types of music (e.g. move slowly for soft music and do big jumps for loud music). etc. (A beat can be created quite easily with a spoon or stick on any household surface or hardy object). Make it louder when he/she is near the object and quieter when he/she is not. child to join in with actions and words. Occasionally, leave off the last words in rhymes and songs for the child to fill in. Not too long! Use ones that the child can join in with and which have repetitive parts. Ensure the child has listened and understood by asking them what has happened and what they think will happen next.

DO AS I SAY: Ask the child to follow spoken commands to perform actions e.g. ‘comb your hair’, ‘show me your feet’, etc. At a much more advanced level, play ‘Simon says’, i.e. when he/she hears ‘Simon  says stand up’, he/she must do the action etc. Other noisemaker.  Others sit behind him and try to creep forward to seize the noisemaker. This is a good family game. Sequence of three or four or five for the child to line up in that order – e.g. red, blue, blue and yellow. It works best if you have two sets of bricks, then you can hide your tower, call out the colours and then compare the results. – e.g. ‘clap  when I say ‘cat’’ ‘Ready?’……. ‘dog’ ……. ‘mouse’ …….. ‘cow’ …..…  ‘pig’ ……… ‘cat’. ‘clap when I say a ‘fruit’’ ‘Ready?’…….. ‘cake’ ……… ‘biscuit’ ….…‘rice’ …….. ‘yoghurt’ ……. ‘apple’ ‘clap when I say a word starting with ‘sss’) …… ‘dog’ …… .‘house’……. ‘sock’.

 A STORY: Read a story to the child and ask them to clap each time they hear a specific word (e.g. the name of one of the characters). Alternatively they could put a brick on a tower each time they hear ‘their’ word.  This works best with two children. 

DELIBERATE MISTAKES: In a sentence, make up some silly and sensible statements e.g. ‘The elephant climbed up the tree.’ ‘The car hopped down the road.’ ‘The cat said ‘miaow.’ See if the child can tell you which ones are silly and why and see if they can make up an alternative. e.g. ‘cars can’t hop – you have to say ‘drive’. 

IN A STORY: Tell a familiar story and make a deliberate mistake.  For example, if telling ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ you could say there were cornflakes in the bowl or there were six chairs.  See if the child can spot the mistake. 

ODD ONE OUT: Say a list of words where one is different e.g.  dog – cat – biscuit – horse, or  trousers – chair – jumper – sock. See if the child can tell you which is the odd one out and why. Start with 2-3 words and gradually increase the number. 

NAME THE CHARACTERS: Choose a story that has various people, animals or objects in it. Afterwards see how many of the animals/people/objects the child can remember.  Then let the child go through the book to see how many they got right. 

SHOPPING GAME: Put out six or more food items or packets at one end of the room.  Give the child a bag and ask them to get two named items for you, e.g. ‘Can you get me cornflakes and an apple?  object in the room, such as a set of keys.  Make a noise when you put the keys down.  Take the blindfold off and see if the child knows where you have put them. house/tower) without the child seeing what you have drawn/made. Describe the picture to them for them to draw it. (E.g. ‘Draw a house in the middle of the page. It has got a pointed roof and a chimney.’) The aim is for the child to draw a picture/make a model identical to your own but without him/her seeing it. The game can be made more difficult by a) drawing more complex pictures, b) including colours, c) giving longer instructions. familiar sound is being made – e.g. turning on the tap, picking up keys, opening the door. See if your child can tell you what it was, just by listening to the noise. 

Group Games   

TRAFFIC LIGHTS: You need a small group of children for this.  If you call out ‘red’, the children have  to sit down.  If you say ‘green’ they can run/walk, and if you say ‘orange’ they have to stand still.  The leader calls out the colours in any order. The last person to follow the instruction is ‘out’. 

INSTRUCTIONS: If you have a group of children you can try games where you call out instructions such as:- ‘all the girls run round the tree’ ‘everyone wearing shorts clap your hands’ This means the children have to listen to find out which instructions apply to them. Tabletop games such as pairs, snap and board games are good for developing concentration and most children enjoy these. 

 ENVIRONMENTAL SOUNDS: Again blindfold the child or ask them to close their eyes whilst a 

DESCRIBE A PICTURE/MAKE A MODEL: Draw a simple picture or make a model (e.g. a 

HIDE AN OBJECT: Put a blindfold on the child or get him/her to close his/her eyes, while you hide an 

LISTENING FOR A SPECIFIC WORD:  Ask the child to clap when they hear you say a specific word 

LISTEN TO THE SEQUENCE: Have a selection of objects or a set of coloured bricks. Call out a 

GIANT’S TREASURE: The ‘giant’ sits in the centre of the room, guarding his treasure, e.g. a bell, or 

READ YOUR CHILD A STORY: Read a story with the child. Stop at times and check that he/she has 

STORIES: Start with stories which have bright pictures, only two or three words on each page and are 

NURSERY RHYMES AND SONGS: Action and finger rhymes are especially useful.  Encourage your 

HIDE THE TOY: When the child is looking for the toy, make a noise, e.g. clapping, banging a drum. 

MOVING IN TIME TO THE BEAT: Ask the child to perform actions faster to a fast beat and slower to a slow beat, 

MUSICAL CHAIRS/DANCE/BUMPS: When the child hears music, either played on a CD or from a real 

STOP AND GO: This game uses sounds for stopping and starting activities.