20+ Listening Activities for Sharpening Little Ears!

Having two active children of my own has made me appreciate the natural joy and curiosity that children possess. In this blog, we will explore the world of listening activities for preschoolers, where learning and play go hand in hand.

I will be sharing some fun activities on this blog that are designed to develop a child’s love of sounds and improve their auditory abilities.

Amazing Listening Activities for Preschoolers

From listening to nature sounds to creating soundscapes with household items, we’re making learning a joyous journey for our preschoolers.

These activities aim to spark interest and cultivate a genuine love for the world of sounds, allowing for a memorable and enjoyable learning experience.

Listening to Nature’s Sounds

We first choose a comfortable location; occasionally, that is our backyard; other times, it is a window that is open. I then start playing recordings of natural sounds, like the pitter-patter of raindrops 💧, soft waves, and birds chirping. 

We close our eyes and imagine ourselves exploring the sounds around us as we go on a magical journey.

I ask my young children to identify the sound they hear and tell me what comes to mind. Sometimes, we create our own “nature instruments”—such as shakers with dried beans or rainmakers with paper tubes—to include a hands-on component.

Pro-tip:

To make listening to nature sounds even more engaging, try incorporating a sensory element. Grab a few textured items like leaves🍃 , sand, or feathers, and encourage your little ones to touch and feel as they listen.

Name That Tune:

We gather around, and I play short bits of their favorite songs, like the ones from their beloved cartoons or nursery rhymes. I encourage them to join in the fun by dancing to the music, which adds to the excitement. When the music stops, I ask, “Can you guess which song this is?”

Sometimes, we even act out parts of the songs together. Also, it helps them with memory and listening skills without them even realizing they’re learning.

Quiet Time with Calming Music

I choose their stuffed animals 🧸 of choice, and we all get together. I like to listen to soft, calming music, such as lullabies or ambient sounds. I let the kids close their eyes and imagine different things as they listened. 

We talk about how the music makes us feel and share our thoughts. I sometimes encourage them to pretend to be sleepy animals 🐻 or to move slowly, as if they are underwater. We even make up our own little dances to the music 🎵.

Sometimes, I let the kids play along with the music by pulling out simple instruments like shakers or chimes. This adds a playful touch and improves their listening experience.

Rainstick Craft

I started by gathering a few basic supplies from around the house: rice, aluminum foil, colorful tape, and an empty paper towel roll. We made a game out of choosing the tape colors, and I let them get creative with decorating their rainsticks.

We pretended to be making magical rain sounds 💧 as I allowed each child to pour in their rice.

Pro-tip:

To enhance the sensory experience and make the rainstick craft even more engaging, consider adding different materials along with rice.

Try incorporating small beads, lentils, or even tiny pasta shapes. Additionally, encourage them to experiment with the amount of rice they pour in, explaining how it affects the sound.

Guess the Mystery Sound

I gather different everyday items, like crinkly paper, a jingling bell, or a soft toy 🧸, and put each one in a box 📦. I shake one box at a time, and my kids have to guess what’s inside based on the sound it makes. 

We sometimes switch roles, and my children become the sound magicians, shaking the boxes for me to guess. It’s a simple yet delightful way to develop listening skills, curiosity, and vocabulary.

Pro-tip:

Consider introducing items with a variety of textures, scents, and shapes into your sound-guessing game. Incorporate objects like a smooth stone, a fabric with different textures, or even a small container filled with a fragrant herb.

Simon Says with Sounds

I gather a bunch of fun sounds, like claps 👏, animal noises, and even silly sounds like boings and giggles. First, I become “Simon” and show them how it works. I say, “Simon says, clap your hands!” and do it myself. They quickly become aware of it!

To make it more fun, I add in sounds that make them giggle, like pretending to be a hopping bunny or a buzzing bee.

When I say, “Simon says buzz like a bee,” they all start laughing. If I forget to say “Simon says” before a sound, they all shout, “You didn’t say Simon says!”

Pro-tip:

Inject a dose of creativity into your “Simon Says” game by using unexpected and funny sounds. It not only keeps the kids engaged but also turns the activity into a source of laughter.

Engage in odd actions like “wiggle like jelly” or “march like penguins,” accompanied by corresponding sounds.

Sound Sorting

I gather different things from around the house that make unique sounds, like bells 🔔, crinkly paper, and shakers.

Then, I put these items in separate containers. I bring out the containers and tell my little ones that we’re going on a sound treasure hunt. 

I let them shake each container and listen carefully to the sound it makes. We talk about the sounds together, using simple words like “ding-ding” for bells and “crinkle” for the paper.

Pro-tip: 

Engage your preschoolers in a sensory-rich learning experience by incorporating blindfolds during your sound treasure hunt.

With their eyes covered, their sense of hearing becomes more acute, making the exploration even more thrilling. Encourage descriptive language as they share their thoughts on each sound.

Echo Clapping

It’s like a clapping 👏 game where I set the rhythm by clapping, and my little ones try to copy it. We turn it into a playful back-and-forth, making silly sounds with each clap. Sometimes, I pretend to be an animal, and they have to clap like that animal.

Sometimes, I add a twist by using different body parts to make sounds, like stomping feet or snapping fingers. I notice that it helps my child focus and improves their listening skills.

Pro-tip:

Engage your little ones in everyday activities that involve listening. Describe the sounds around you during a nature walk, ask them to identify kitchen sounds while cooking, or encourage them to listen for specific noises during playtime.

Instrument Exploration

I gather various instruments like shakers, drums🥁 , and bells, and we have a blast making music together. I let my little one touch, shake and tap each instrument, and we talk about the different sounds they make. 

We even pretend we’re a band, playing our own tunes. I encourage my child to experiment with creating rhythms and beats, fostering creativity and a love for music.

We sometimes match the instruments to familiar songs, making it a playful and educational experience. Instrument Exploration helps develop their fine motor skills and a sense of rhythm.

Pro-tip:

Place the instruments inside a bag or box, allowing your child to feel and guess which instrument it is based on touch alone. This adds an extra layer of sensory learning, promoting tactile awareness. As they identify each instrument, connect it to the sounds they produce.

Sound Scavenger Hunt

First, I grab a list of sounds we might hear outside, like birds singing, cars honking, or leaves rustling. 

Then, I become the guide, and we explore into our backyard or around the neighborhood, turning our walk into an engaging listening experience. I encourage my little ones to close their eyes and really pay attention.

I bring a small notebook and some crayons along so we can draw or scribble what we hear. Sometimes, we even pretend we’re nature detectives 🕵️‍♂️ on a mission to find all the hidden sounds. We talk about the sounds we like the most and why they make us happy.

Animal Sound Guessing Game

I do gather a bunch of animal sound recordings – you can find these online or use an app. I like to keep it simple with familiar animals like cows, ducks, and cats. I find a cozy spot in our living room, and we sit down together. 

I start playing a sound, and then I ask my little one, “Can you guess which animal makes this noise?”. They giggle and try to mimic the sounds themselves.

To make it even more exciting, we sometimes act out the animals 🐼. If it’s a lion’s roar, we pretend to be fierce lions.

For a quacking duck, we waddle around like ducks. This game not only keeps them entertained but also helps with their listening skills and sparks their curiosity about the Animal Kingdom.

Musical Chairs with a Twist

First off, I swapped the regular tunes for some funky music🎵 that had extra fun sounds– like silly giggles or boings. 

Every time the music stopped, I made it a little adventure by asking the kiddos to mimic the last sound they heard. I also added some colorful cushions on the chairs with pictures of animals or shapes. 

When the music paused, I’d say something like, “Find a chair with a lion!”. Oh, and instead of chairs, sometimes we used big plush pillows or even hula hoops on the floor to sit on.

Storytime with Audio Books

First, I find audiobooks 📚 with lively narrators and exciting sound effects. I let my little ones choose their favorite stories or characters. As the narrator brings the tale to life, I encourage my kids to close their eyes and imagine the scenes unfolding.

To add an extra element of joy, we sometimes play a guessing game. Before pressing play, I ask them to predict what might happen in the story based on the title or cover.

Pro-tip: 

Enhance your preschooler’s language development and critical thinking skills by incorporating “pause moments” during audiobook sessions.

When an interesting point arises, hit pause and ask simple questions like, “What do you think will happen next?” or “How do you feel about the character’s decision?”

Summing Up

From nature sounds to musical chairs with a twist, these activities aim to spark curiosity and create lasting memories for your little ones. Through rainstick crafts, echo clapping, and sound scavenger hunts, we’ve created opportunities for sensory-rich learning. 

Without the kids realizing it, guessing games like “Name That Tune” and “Animal Sound Guessing” have improved their memory and listening abilities in addition to providing entertainment. 

I would like to encourage educators, parents, and other caregivers to try these activities with their preschool-aged kids and to leave a comment below with their thoughts.

Was this article helpful?

Leave a Comment