“Ssshhh! Close your eyes and listen. What do you hear?”
When was the last time you actually closed your eyes and simply listen to the sounds around you? Me? Just now. While writing this. It felt like I got transported by the whirring of the fan to a place serene and quiet. And the experience was calming.
But have you ever wondered why we are always advised to keep quiet when others are speaking and listen instead or why it is strongly recommended to develop listening skills? Well, the reason is simple! When we listen, and that too when we listen carefully, we would be able to communicate our thoughts, ideas and feelings to others efficiently.
Imagine your mother is trying to share how her day went, and you were busy fiddling with your phone, not listening. Will you be able to comment on the events in her life? Definitely not! If something bad had happened to her on this particular day, you wouldn't have been able to ask for more details and you would miss your chance of an emotional connection with her, which would eventually make her feel sad.
In other words, developed listening skills help us become sympathetic towards others. They enhance our emotional quotient.
But what are listening skills and how to develop them?
Listening skills can be defined as the art of receiving information, interpreting and communicating it. Without effective listening skills, the whole communication channel breaks down.
When to develop listening skills? As early as possible! Hence, we believe that these listening activities teach kids the importance of developing listening skills and becoming sympathetic listeners and better speakers.
1. Sound identification
On a few flashcards, write animal names or modes of transport and give these cards to your kids or students. Play a recording of various sounds and have your kids and students match the names in the flashcards with the sound they hear.
- Animal sounds: cat, dog, frog, cow, monkey, lion, pig, goat, etc.
- Modes of transport: ship, plane, scooter, truck, ambulance, car, etc.
- Appliances: coffee machine, washing machine, telephone, refrigerator
- Nature: breeze, stream, tree branch bending, etc.
This activity builds vocabulary and helps children familiarise themselves with the name of things and the sound they make. Repeat the process for reinforcement.
Here's a wonderful toy to introduce to your kids.
2. A sound walk
Take your kids or students to a park or to the woods and let them record all the sounds they hear while walking. They should be able to include the sound of the rustling dry leaves, the whooshing sound of the breeze, the chattering of people, and the playful scream of other children, among other sounds.
This activity not only rejuvenates children's moods but also fosters experiential learning. It simply means that even though home and classroom are powerful simulations of the real world, experiential learning argues that when learning is shifted into a real-life situation it becomes more powerful in individuals. Learning becomes associated with fun then.
3. Listen and draw
The goal of this activity is for kids to understand what can happen when speakers and listeners are able and unable to communicate effectively. The learning outcomes include:
Children will identify challenges and solutions when communicating about and describing visual imagery.
They will improve their ability to be thoughtful active listeners and effective communicators.
One example of this activity 'Draw a Picture Game' where listeners are asked to draw a picture using shapes and lines that can result in any form. This is a fun way to get children to practice their listening skills.
Or gift your kids with this amazing 3D Interactive Learning Book
4. Relay-race sentence
One of the most hilarious games for children is a relay-race sentence or sentence relay. It is a team game wherein each team receives the same sentence or message from a teacher or any adult. This sentence-long message is passed on from one team member to another until the last member. The last member then writes the message on the blackboard or a piece of paper. Since this is a game of speed, most of the time the message gets distorted at the end of the game and which makes the game funny.
This activity tests kids' ability to receive information and relay it to others correctly. To be successful in this activity, the children must have developed listening skills to grasp every detail that has been handed over to them.
5. Filing in the missing lyrics of the song
This activity is an excellent way for testing children's listening and memory skills. It involves listening to the lyrics of the song. It begins by introducing the full line of the song and ends with children identifying the missing word or phrase. The kids and students then supply the missing words.
Another variation of this game is to read a short story and ask a few questions about it. This not only helps children pay attention to the story but also reinforces their listening skills.
Another toy that you can give your child is Coobic, an interactive game for kids that comes with a smart cube that has speakers and sensors.6. Did you overhear that?
Although eavesdropping is discouraged, this activity keeps kids' auditory skills sharper. It makes them pay attention to details and learn patience.
Take your kids or students to a public cafe or school cafeteria and let them sit at one of the tables and ask them to jot down whatever they hear. In this activity, you should be expecting results such as clanking of utensils, people's conversation, perhaps a complaint about orders, a rant about work or family issues, etc.
Helping children learn to listen can give them advantages you might not expect. Kids with strong listening skills retain more information and are less likely to feel unprepared and frustrated in school. They also communicate their ideas effectively, and this is because children who listen pick up more knowledge to reflect on and think critically about before they respond.
Check out one of Snooplay's incredible toys for enhancing listening skills.