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Teach your child to listen

Updated: Feb 16, 2021

Listening is the foundation skill of learning a language. Children's brains are wired in such a way that what they hear forms effortlessly into spoken language. Have you ever wondered how grown-up your young child sounds sometimes? It's because they are speaking what they've heard.

The first skill to acquire though, is learning to listen. Even children with perfect hearing can sometimes struggle with this. If you think your child has difficulties in this area, here is a fun activity you can try at home. This activity is suitable for toddlers and upwards.

All you need are some empty bottles. You can use glass or plastic, but need to be extra careful when playing with the glass bottles. Next, choose some fillers. Rajmah, rice, dals, sand, buttons or crayon ends all form interesting fillers. Fill each bottle up to half with one chosen filler. When you shake a bottle, each one should produce a sound different to the other.

You are now ready to play.

Sit down with your child with the bottles between you. Shake each bottle and listen to the sound of it. Now place the bottles behind you. Shake one, and ask your child to guess which one was shaken. As your child gets better at this, shake two in a row (eg, rajmah-rice). Your child needs to find out which two bottles were used and in which order. Make this task as complex as your child can cope with.

Don't forget to teach the words 'same' and 'different' when doing this. You can say, 'That's right. That's the same sound I made. Well done!'. Instead of saying wrong when your child gets it wrong, use the word 'different'. ('That one sounds a bit different to mine. Try again!')

You can also play some music (just on your phone will do) and join in with your noisemakers. When you make the music soft on your phone, your child plays the noisemaker softly. When you turn the volume up, he plays it loudly. Don't forget to teach the words 'soft' and 'loud' when you play this game.

You can also play games that teach 'fast', 'slow', 'stop' and 'start' using the noisemakers. Do this by playing alongside music or build your own rhythm.

You can experiment with the noisemakers. Take out most of the fillers or fill the bottle right to the brim. Shake it and see if you can hear a difference. Concept words you can teach when doing this are 'more', 'less', 'just a few', 'not much'. You've created a wonderful science and math lesson right there!

Importantly, finish the activity before your child loses interest in it. If you appear to be having fun with it, your child will also see the fun in it. Enjoy!

And have you tried our Brainy English app (by Brainy Bug Resources) ? With hundreds of words and sentences, our app is designed to make English easy for your child.

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