If your child is four years old, skip through to Activity 4. If your child is five years old and in Kindergarten, consider skipping the Listening module to Activity 1 in the Rhyming module. See Fast Track for more details.
Your child raises her hand while a sound is playing and lowers her hand when it stops. This introduces her to the practice of noticing and paying attention to a particular sound.
Explain to your child that you are going to make (or play) a sound, and then demonstrate that noise so she knows what to listen for. Keep it simple—play part of a song, tap your fingers on a table, or just hum a tune. Have the child face away from you or the source of the sound, to be sure she’s listening and not just watching. Tell the child to raise her hand while the noise is playing, and lower her hand when it stops.
Adult: I am going to play a clapping sound. Listen.
[Make or play clapping sound.] Did you hear clapping?Child: Yes!
Adult: Good listening! This time, when you hear the clapping, raise your hand, like this.
What will you do when you hear the noise? Child: Raise my hand.
Adult: Yes, raise your hand. Listen. [Play sound and raise hand.]
When the noise stops, we put our hand down. [Put hand down.]
What did you do when the noise stopped? Child: Put my hand down.
Adult: Yes, you put your hand down. You’re a good listener.
This is fun! Let’s hear some new sounds!
NOTE: Use just one sound — clear and loud — until the child has mastered the activity. You don’t need to go through all the sounds — just pick one, or a few, that the child is familiar with.
Some children do better when they close their eyes; it helps them focus on listening. Others do better holding up and object instead of their hand when they hear the sound.
Some younger children may struggle with the two-part instructions, of this activity (raise your hand when the sound starts; put it down when the sound stops). You can address this by adding two-part instructions to other parts of the child’s routine: “Wash your hands; then dry them.” “Pick up your napkin and put it in the trash.”
You can also teach the child what to do by modelling the response for her. Put your hand on hers. When the sound starts raise her hand along with your own, and when it stops put both your hands down. Guide her through this process until she gets it.
Later, prompt her when the noise starts or stops, giving escalating clues:
Adult: Did the noise just start?
What do we do now?
Should we raise our hand?
Raise your hand!
When your child finds this game easy, you can make it more challenging by playing the sounds softly (so she has to listen carefully) or add other decoy sounds.
Have your child do different motions while the music or noise is playing, such as touching her nose, shaking her foot, etc.
This game can be played outside the home using environmental sounds. Call your child’s attention to various noises you encounter, such as music from the stereo of a neighboring car at a traffic light, or cows mooing in a nearby pasture.
Adaptation: Read the main activity, watch the video, and follow the instructions above, with the following changes.
Have children use a variety of motions to indicate when the sound begins or ends:
thumbs up / thumbs down
touch nose / touch ear
stomp feet / tap knees
“silent” clap / snap fingers
Observe the group for understanding of the concept.
Reinforcement: Repeat the activity. Let the children take turns choosing the movement to be used.
Use this Reinforcement at Home form to tell parents and guardians how they can reinforce lessons outside the classroom.