Activities for Listening Skills in Preschoolers

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Along with learning the basic alphabet and essential counting skills, preschool students commonly develop listening skills during their first year of school. The listening skills developed in preschool are integral for kindergarten and elementary school success as students in these grades commonly receive much information via oral communication. Preschool teachers can make listening skills practice as enjoyable as it is effective by engaging their young students in interactive listening skills games.

1 Magic Word

Students will listen more closely when offered a reward for catching the "magic word." To engage your students in an ongoing magic word activity, explain the importance of listening when giving directions. Tell students that they will miss important information if they fail to listen. To encourage them to listen, explain to students that you will choose a magic word. Write a simple word like “car” or “rabbit” on the classroom whiteboard and read the word to students. Tell students to stand up whenever they hear the magic word. Reward the first three students who stand up when you say the magic word at any time throughout the day with a special prize. Change your magic word every week and use more difficult words as the students become more advanced. The promise of the reward and the desire to compete with their peers will have your preschool students listening close and jumping up when they hear the magic word.

2 Stand Up – Sit Down

Turn story time into an interactive activity by engaging students in a Stand Up – Sit Down listening game. To prepare for this game, select a book in which a word is repeated often. Try favorite books like “If you Give a Mouse a Cookie” in which the word "mouse" is commonly used. Begin the story with all students sitting, but tell them to stand up when they hear the commonly repeated word. As you read the selected word pause so that students can stand up. When you come to the word again the students should sit down. Continue reading, with students standing up and sitting down as necessary, until you reach the end of the book.

3 Color Cards

Engage students in a colorful listening activity using a classic children's book. To prepare for this activity, obtain a copy of “Red Fish, Blue Fish” by Dr. Seuss, and sheets of red and blue card stock. Cut the sheets of card stock into red and blue colored cards that are roughly 4 inches by 4 inches. To begin the activity, give each student a red card and a blue card. Tell students that they should hold up the appropriate card when you say each color as you read. Inform students that if they successfully complete the activity they can receive a prize such as five extra minutes of recess. Read the book to the students pausing as you say each color so students can hold up their cards and demonstrate their listening abilities.

Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.