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15 Clever Games for Building Early Listening Skills

Listening skills are important for a child as they are one of the building blocks of overall communication prowess. Listening skills entail two areas of capability:

  1. Correctly identifying the words spoken by somebody else.
    Required skill: Attention
  2. Correctly interpreting the words spoken by somebody else.

Required skill: Context-sensitivity, common sense

Here is a list of listening games that can prove beneficial to your kids. Unless otherwise specified, all the games below follow the model of disqualification on making a wrong move, and announcing the last person standing as the winner:

  1. Repeat after Me: Moderator of the game says any sentence.

Participating players must repeat the sentence perfectly; those who don’t are disqualified.

  1. Follow Instructions: Moderator of a game gives instructions; these must be followed exactly.
    Example: Draw a blue circle on the right margin of Page 394 of the Anatomy textbook.
  2. Raise your Hand, Boo: Get a group of players to sit in a circle, and ask a set of rapid-fire questions, the answers of which can be confirmed easily. The players must listen carefully and raise their hand if it applies to them.

Example: “Who’s wearing grey socks?”

                  “Who’s a class captain?” and so on                  

  1. MultiplicationTabled:  The participants must forget the existing multiplication tables. The moderator will create their own multiplication table, and recite it rapidly.  Then, the listening players must correctly answer a question, based on the recently fabricated multiplication table.

Example: Moderator says, “5 times 6 is 98”

                                            “5 times 7 is 112”

“5 times 8 is 193”

Answers must be given in accordance with above table.

  1. StoryTime: The moderator recites a story; then, simple questions from the story are asked and must be answered correctly.
  2. GossipCrunch: All the participants must sit in a circle. Now, a moderately complex scenario must be written down and whispered into the ear of the first child in the circle. This kid has to relay it (in whispers) to the next kid in the circle, and so on. The last kid will have to say it out loud. If the message comes out different, the culprit must be traced and corrected. No winners or losers.
  3. Context: A list of homonyms is needed; now two sentences, each using one meaning of the homonym in an obvious way, should be quickly recited. Players should be able to say which homonym was used first, and which later.
    Example: “My shower is broken.”
                      “A shower of flowers rained down.”

Player should be able to say that the first sentence meant bathroom appliance, and the second a stream.

  1. Waiter, Please: The moderator is the customer at a restaurant, and will rattle off an order of food. This must be relayed correctly to the cook by the waiter and the cook must bring the right food to the customer. Any communication breakdown is detected and corrected. No winners or losers.
  2. Distracted: Here, the kids are shown a series of distracting pictures (example: someone tripping over a banana etc.) and are simultaneously asked questions that they must answer correctly.
  3. Gibberish: The moderator speaks gibberish with no real meaning, and the players must repeat the sounds exactly so.
  4. WordMash: Moderator narrates a long story and abruptly drops in a word that is out-of-context, sometime during the narration. Kids must be able to identify that misplaced word after the story is complete.
  5. Quantity: Moderator chooses a theme (say, “Colour”) and narrates a story with two or three colours mentioned at different times. Kids must be able to answer how many times a certain colour was uttered.
  6. RhymeOn: A rhyming poem (can be nonsensical) must be narrated; it should strictly have matching words on consecutive lines. Then, the kids must list the matching words correctly.
  7. ZooKeeper: A zoo scene must be enacted by some kids, each making the sounds of a certain animal. Players must list out all the animals correctly.
  8. TheRumble: A theme is chosen (say, “Fruit”) and three kids are made to say different things simultaneously; also one of them mandatorily utters the name of a fruit. A player must correctly identify the fruit and the speaker.


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