Listening Activities for Kids

Instructor: Melinda Santos
Developing good listening skills requires practice and patience, but it is an integral skill that teaches children to follow directions and identify important information. Use some of the fun, interactive activities outlined below to make a game out of listening and explore some useful corresponding resources on

Sound Box

This simple game teaches children how to closely listen to sounds and noises to identify what creates them. All you need is a few small containers that won't reveal the contents and a variety of small items that will make sound when rattled in the container. A few examples include small shells, coins, rice, beans, bells or rocks. Put one type of item in each container and then allow the children to shake them and try to guess what's inside. After everyone has had a turn guessing, reveal the contents.

To learn more about how the process of listening works, take a look at our lesson called The Four Stages of the Listening Process.

Red Light, Green Light

This activity is an oldie but goodie as it requires children to rely solely on their listening abilities to perform the correct action at the correct moment. Simply line children up and have one person stand at a designated spot a little distance away. That person then gives the others prompts by saying green light for go and red light for stop. Whomever reaches the person providing the directions first, wins. Anyone who 'runs' a red light must go back to the start.

Check out's Teaching Listening Skills to Children lesson for helpful tips on incorporating listening instruction into your classroom.

Simon Says

Similar to Red Light, Green Light, Simon Says challenges kids to follow the instructions given by another peer or individual. For this activity, one person gives instructions for everyone to follow that begin with the phrase, Simon says... If the leader does not say that phrase before a command (i.e. Put your finger on your nose.), whomever still follows through with the command is out. The last person left wins.

Learn more about how games like Simon Says can help foster attention skills in Listening and Understanding Instructions.

Blindfold Walking

This activity is best practiced with children who have adequate coordination skills and the ability to follow detailed instructions. Working in pairs, one person blindfolds his or her partner and then provides them with specific instructions on how to get to a designated item or point within a room (i.e. Walk four steps straight ahead and then turn left, etc.). Once the destination or item is reached, the partners switch places.

Help your students focus on what their partner is explaining by employing the principles in the lesson What is Active Listening? - Techniques, Definition & Examples.

Putting Objects in the Correct Order

For this activity, provide each child or group of children with approximately 10 items or picture cards (based on the children's age). Instruct each person or group to listen first, then order the objects or cards according to the sequence you read off. Clarify that they should not touch the objects until you are finished reading the sequence and you instruct them to begin. Read the order in which the objects should be placed and then allow the children to begin. After they are finished, check to see who completed the sequence in the correct order.

View the lesson Listening for Basic Comprehension to learn about the difference between hearing and listening and strategies for fostering active, engaged, listening in your students.

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