Our senses are not simply tools to help us thrive and survive in the world; they can be excellent “accessories” for tons of fun with children!  Here are a few activities to try with kids to get them to listen to the sounds around them!


  1. Name that Sound – my preschooler LOVES playing this game, and it is perfect to play just about anywhere.  We take a blanket and crawl underneath it and stay really still, listening to sounds around us to identify.  When the weather is good, this is a great game to try outdoors, whether the sounds are cars on the road, birds or wind in the trees or neighbors talking nearby.  By blocking the other senses (sight and smell in particular), the sense of hearing is heightened.  Playing indoors is just as fun, as we discover sounds like the refrigerator making ice, the clock ticking, and the heater turning on!
  2. Telegraph – this classic game is good to play with a group of children.  Have one person start by whispering a simple message into another person’s ear, such as “My mother made eggs for breakfast.”.  Once the message is received, each person turns to another to whisper and pass it along until it reaches the last person.  That person states the message out loud and the group can find out how close the original message and the final message are.  It is a great tool to use to teach children to listen for detail!
  3. Name that Noise – much like the song, “Old Macdonald”, children create sounds and then try to identify them.  The sounds don’t have to be just animal sounds made with voice, though.  Try a squeeky door, a rhythm that is clapped out, or humming a popular song.
  4. Make A Sound Band – using only your body, try to create sounds and rhythms to fit together as a “band”.  Have several people create sound without the aid of instruments, such as a whistle, a clap, leg pats, tapping the cheeks, or other various sounds.  Put them together for a unique instrumentation!
  5. Marco Polo – this famous “pool game” doesn’t have to be played in the heat of the summer alone!  Have the person who is “it” stand with his or her eyes shut.  Another person should move quietly around him or her, stop and clap a few times softly.  “It” should point to where he or she believes the clapper is standing.  This hones in on discriminatory hearing skills – being able to select certain sounds when there might be other sounds in range as well.