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10 Easy Listening Activities Kids Need to Help Self-Regulation

“Do you hear that sound? Be still.” I began the listening activities for preschoolers.

The children immediately calmed their bodies and nodded their heads in excitement.

Listening activities are by far the most popular activities in a child’s learning environment whether indoors or outdoors. I encourage you to give a sound activity a go. You won’t regret it.

Why a Listening Activity is Good for a Child

I learned about listening activities during my Montessori music and sensorial training. I had a day of learning the Montessori music curriculum. What I adore about this content is how the Montessori community honors music as a means of learning by moving, listening, and singing.

Children learn self-regulation, gross motor, pre-math, grace & courtesy, and focus. For this executive functioning and emotional regulation learning, I was especially taken aback by the listening activities.

A young boy sitting on the beach

In today’s world with so many visuals flying around us, not just our kids, none of us actually listen very much anymore. Remaining present is something I struggle with on a daily basis.

Stopping to listen helps ground me.

For our kids, listening will certainly have the same benefits and then some not the least of which is a positive impact on brain development.

Listening Activities for Kids

So here is a list of easy and doable listening games about which I learned recently. We can all do these in our classrooms and in our homes.

Silence Game

A classic Montessori activity that I knew of prior to this class. However, our instructor taught us differently. He positioned it as “Let’s sit here for a minute and listen to the sounds”.

Let me tell you that works a heck of a lot better for my 3-year-old than “Let’s Be Silent!” Check out the Montessori Silence lesson.

Exploring with Ears

The instructor played a series of sound effects and asked us “What do you hear?” The sounds ranged from a pencil breaking and falling to the fall of a roller coaster.

Each with a specific end and beginning to it. We listened to a cd but the BBC has an AMAZING sound library equipped with learning activities FREE for you to use.

Here is another sound library that you might find useful. Also, many libraries offer sound effects CDs.

Ask your child what he hears.

Listening activities for kids

Go on a Listening Walk

The instructor played two recordings of The Listening Walk by Paul Showers. The first recording was a reading of the book with sounds. The second recording was a reading of the book with only the sounds.

Ask your child what he heard in each version. I highly recommend owning the book but your local library should also have a copy. It is a lovely book.

Find Sitting Spots

This idea came from a new friend in my Montessori program. She explained how her class listens from various sitting spots around the school and at various times of the day to notice the different sounds.

Kids can decorate the sitting spots for extra fun. So simple. Gather a notebook and pencil to journal if the child is ready for that extension.

Record a Walk

Create your own Listening Walk. Record it on your phone or however, you’d like to record the walk. Then play it back with your child. What do you both hear?

Match Sounds with Images

Prep images, and lay them out on the floor in front of your child. As he listens and hears a sound, ask him to identify it on the cards.

Create a Sequence

Create a visual walk. Take the sounds heard from your walk or The Listening Walk book and ask your child to lay the cards out as he hears the sounds.

Scavenger Hunt with Your Ears

Create a grid of images and as your child meanders and walks throughout his neighborhood or home, he can mark off those sounds that he hears and identifies.

Where’s Waldo?

Play a short “sound scene” and ask your child to identify a few sounds within that scene.

Thank you to my music instructor Joseph Weisnewski for guidance, direction, and inspiration. I think that is enough to get you started on this musical journey!

Name that Sound

Sound activities for kids don’t have to be complicated. We used white noise a lot when my boys were younger. The app we used is “White Noise Pro” which cost a mere $2.99 to download. It was really my son who started this activity.One afternoon he grabbed my iPhone and I noticed he was playing with the white noise app. This went on for quite some time and he repeatedly asked, “Mama, what’s that sound?”

So, voila.


This app is wonderful because the sounds include but are not limited to:

  1. A cat purring
  2. Rain
  3. A fan
  4. Dishwasher
  5. Hair Dryer
  6. Clothes Dryer
  7. City Streets
  8. Railroad
  9. Lightning and Thunder
  10. Grandfather Clock
  11. Frogs
  12. Crickets
  13. Wind Chimes
  14. Fire
  15. Waves Crashing
  16. Shower
  17. Sprinkler
  18. Vacuum
  19. Airplane
  20. Heartbeat

Conversation and learning seem almost endless.

So when your child asks, “What’s that sound?” Ask him or her what he or she thinks, then guide him or her into a definition and description. I am in the process of creating category cards to go along with the oral lesson.So, play a sound and ask your child to grab the card of the sound he or she believes he or she heard…and there you have it.

Have fun!

You might enjoy 10 Fun Five Senses Activities for Sight & Hearing!

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