Developing good active listening skills for kids of all ages is an important life skill. Sometimes it can be difficult to get your children to listen, so why not try these fun listening games?

15 Activities to Build Listening Skills - two kids whispering in each others ears laughing - Kids Activities Blog
Listen and move! What fun it can be to really listen to a friend.

Best Listening Activities for Kids to Build Listening Skills

Today we are sharing 20 fun listening exercises for children, listening games and silly activities you can use to teach your children to have good listening skills.

How Do You Teach Young Children Listening Skills?

Teaching listening skills to kids starts with being a good example. As in most places in life, kids learn what they observe better than what they are told (especially if they are not listening)!

One of the reasons why we have created this list of fun activities to improve listening skills is that kids also learn better through play and practice. Hands on listening activities are not only fun but a way to hone listening skills as they develop.

Tried and True Active Listening Activity

Learning listening skills through games is not a new technique! Generations have used this way of teaching through traditional children’s games like Simon Says, Mother May I, Freeze tag, Red Light Green Light…in fact, most of the childhood games handed down from generation to generation has a listening component!

How do you teach children listening skills?

One of the most overlooked ways to teach children listening skills is to model good listening behavior yourself! If you demonstrate active listening, positive reinforcement and follow polite conversation rules, it will be a much easier thing for kids to see what good listening looks like.

How do you introduce a listening activity?

Listening activities are play activities! Don’t think of these listening activities as a lesson or something that needs to be forced, just play along! The more fun and interactive you can make anything (especially listening), the easier the listening activity will go!

Help Your Children Improve Listening Skills with Listening Games

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1. Our Favorite Listening Game

Make a simple DIY telephone and then turn it into a listening game which is one of our favorite kids activities.

Reading books aloud can help kids listening skills - Kids Activities Blog - child and adult reading and talking together
Listen while I read aloud…

2. Reading Aloud Improves Listening Ability in Kids

Read to your children every day. This is one of the very best ways to help them build their listening skills and strengthen their audible learning skills, too! – Welcome to the Family Table

3. Follow the Simple Directions Game

Listening to directions of how to stack a tower of blocks make this activity one kids will love to do because they already know the answers!  -Hands On As We Grow.

4. Play a Musical Listening Game

The Sound Box is a musical listening game for small children.  -Let’s Play Kids Music.

5. Listen and Move the Characters

Narrate some basic instructions about animal characters and what they are doing.  Have your child listen and move the characters along to the story. -In The Playroom.

Listening activities for kids to improve listening skills - Kids Activities Blog - child holding both ears looking at the camera
Why is listening so hard???

6. Go on a Sound Scavenger Hunt!

Go on a sound hunt outside and think about all the different noises you hear along the way. -Inspiration Laboratories.

7. Red Light Green Light is a Listening Game

Playing a simple game of Red Light, Green Light is such a fun way to work on those early listening skills. My two-year old loves this!

8. Play a Guess the Sound Game

Grab those extra Easter eggs and fill them with odds and ends, then let your kids shake them and guess what is inside.  -A Mom With A Lesson Plan

Listening to Friends can help kids learn to listen - Kids Activities Blog - three kids walking together and laughing
Listening to friends counts as listening!

9. Play the Rain Game

Try playing the rain game with your kids. Such a classic and wonderful activity! -Moments A Day

10. Listening App for Kids

Learn about a listening app with games and exercises for kids. -The Preschool Toolbox Blog

11. Explore through Sound Cylinders

Make your own sound cylinders to help you kids understand the intensity of sound. -Living Montessori Now

12. Play a Game of Freeze Dance

Play freeze dance to get your kids to hone in on their listening skills. -Sing Dance Play Learn

Kids often listen more than you think - Kids Activities Blog - child looking at the camera writing on paper
Kids listen more than you might think…sometimes!

13. Try the Listening Exercise of DO THREE THINGS

Play this game called “Do 3 Things” that helps with listening skills and also secretly convinces them to pick up their toys. Shh! -Inspiration Laboratories

14. Play Sound Hide & Seek Together

Try this fun version of hide and seek that only uses your sense of hearing. -Mosswood Connections

15. Play a Preschool Music Game

Here is a list of 12 music activities for your preschooler to try that works for kids of all ages.

16. Can You Identify the Bird Call?

My kids grandma has a bird clock on her wall that has a different bird song at each hour. My kids love to try and identify the bird sounds.

17. Follow Along with the Listen and Move Song

18. This Grid Activity is the Perfect Listening Exercise for Kids

I love this following directions activities idea for kids which would work well at home or in the classroom to improve listening skills.

19. Overheard Listening Exercise

A few years ago, I heard someone say that people believe things they “overhear” much more than things they are told. This can be used to a parent’s advantage by being conscious of what your child might be overhearing. Play a little game everyday by dropping important, positive messages to your child in a way that appears just out of earshot. It is great fun and will have them listening more intently than ever!

20. Family Time as Team Building Time

Try hosting a family team building games for kids and see how fun it is to work together and how important it is to listen to each other.

The Importance of Active Listening for Kids

One of the best ways we can help our children to develop good listening skills is to model that ourselves. As we know our children are just like sponges and soak up everything around them.

Being a good role model when it comes to listening is a great way we can impact our children and help them become great listeners.

Telling a story can help kids learn to listen - Kids Activities Blog - child talking
Are you a good listening role model for your kids?

Are You Modeling These Good Listening Skills for Kids?

  1. Are you putting away all distractions? This means your phone, computer, television, book, etc.
  2. Are you looking them in the eyes? Eye contact is such an important part of listening and communication. When we look at them we are showing them that they have our undivided attention.
  3. Are you focusing on what they are saying, and not letting your mind wander? Your child may be little, but they are very intuitive. They know when their mom and dad are not paying attention to them. Show them you are listening by focusing on what they are saying.
  4. Are you engaging appropriately? If your child communicates an idea, are you asking the appropriate questions and/or giving them the appropriate responses? Verbal and non-verbal responses are important when you are the listener.

By actively listening to your children, you are showing them the steps to become great listeners themselves!

Kids Books on Becoming a Good Listener

I also really like the book by Kane Miller called Listen which walks through all the sounds of nature on a rainy day walk.

Computer or Electronic Listening Games for Kids

Many of the apps or online games that kids can play to help them develop listening skills are often used with and developed by speech pathologists who treat kids with speaking and listening challenges. Don’t be afraid to explore these deeper! Many of these apps and games are super fun to play and you don’t even notice you are learning…

2. HB Following Directions App for Kids

Follow the directions to build and play.

3. Conversation Builder App for Kids

This is used in Speech Therapy all the time and has applications beyond speech challenges helping kids with real world situations and what they could respond to what they hear.

FAQs on Active listening for Kids

What are the 3 A’s of active listening?

There are 3 A’s of active listening or what is often called Triple A Listening:

Attitude – start listening with a good mindset open to what you will hear.

Attention – eliminate distractions and use all your senses to observe what you see and hear.

Adjustment – I think of this as “follow the leader” or following the conversation and what you are hearing without placing obstacles or assuming what will be said.

What are 5 active listening techniques?

Another method of teaching listening skills is based on 5 active listening techniques (grab a printable version of these from Wayne State University):

1. Pay attention.
2. Show that you are listening.
3. Provide feedback.
4. Defer judgment.
5. Respond appropriately.

More Wonderful Lessons You Can Teach Your Children

Did we miss any of your favorite listening activities for kids? Please add your advice to help kids learn listening skills in the comments below…

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1 Comment

  1. I was just thinking about this listen in a minute advice for a listening activity for kids (or adults) and like it even more the more I explore. THANKS!