Listening is as important as reading, talking or writing. Everyone can hear, but to be a skilled listener you have to practice. Education requires good communication skills from an early age. See here and here for some facts. Children who listen well often do better in school, and of course being a good listener means being a good friend.
Learning to listen well takes only a few minutes of focussed practice. Try some of these:
1. Stand still. Stop talking. Close your eyes for 10 seconds. What can you hear?
This is a great one to do if you go to a park or a beach but is just as interesting in the street or shopping center (you can always find a corner to do this for a few seconds). A busy street might have too many sounds, especially for small children.
2. Put some music on. Move your body to match the sounds you hear.
Some children just have to move and this actually helps them focus. Once they have practiced listening a little with movement, they will be able to sit still better at school.
3. Collect different substances such as rice, oats, beans, beads etc. Put each in a paper bag. Hold closed and shake. Listen to the differences in sound.
This can provide lots of opportunity for conversation about different materials and how sound is made.
I’m planning to post a listening activity every week, so come back and visit if you find this useful. Please comment with suggestions or thoughts.