ACTIVITIES TO ENHANCE AUDITORY 
SKILLS IN YOUNG CHILDREN

1) Auditory Memory -

a) Using a book with a repetitive phrase (e.g., Brown Bear, Brown Bear - "What do you see?"), ask the child to say the repetitive phrase at the appropriate time in the story. Use rhythm cues (i.e., tapping out the rhythm of the phrase) if necessary.

b) Practice multi-syllable words (e.g., hippopotamus) by tapping out the rhythm or using pictures/drawings to represent different syllables or parts of the word (e.g., hip - oh - pot - a - muss).

 

2) Auditory Localization -

a) Play games asking the child to "find" sounds (e.g., ticking timer, music box) hidden at various places in a room. Place the sound-objects at different levels (e.g., on a low shelf, at eye level, or above the child's head) to encourage a variety of localizations.

b) Play a game where the child must listen (initially accompanied by the child watching you) to a sequence of sounds made using objects in the room (e.g., opening/closing scissors, tapping a pencil, stirring in a cup) and then try to duplicate the pattern. Next have the child close his/her eyes while you play the sounds then try to duplicate the pattern. This activity encourages localization as a means of assisting with the memory component of the activity.

 

3) Auditory/Language Integration (prediction, rhythm, closure, and context) -

a) Use rhyming to enhance closure by reading a rhyming book and pausing for the child to fill-in the rhyme according to the rhythm, the pictures in the book and the context.

b) Enhance vocabulary development to assist with improved prediction and closure.

c) Use closure cues to assist the child with re-telling a story or relating an event to another person. For example, say "We went to the store and you saw a clown. He gave you a ....." or give the first sound of the word to encourage closure for a specific word. For example, say "He gave you a B....." (for "balloon.").

 

4) Critical Listening -

a) Ask questions that vary by only one word to minimize context clues. For example, when playing a lotto game, you might ask the child, "Does SHE have it?" vs. "Do YOU have it?" vs. "Do I have it?" to encourage the child to shift his/her focus of attention and identify who has a certain lotto item on their card. Other types of questions can be asked such as "What is your first name?" vs. "last name" vs. "brother's name", or "Who has the red marker?" vs. "blue marker" etc.

b) Play a "silly game" where you tell the child that you may change a word in the story to make the story sound "silly" and you want the child to "catch" you. Then as you read the story, substitute an incorrect word, such as, "The little boy looked in the oven and found a CAPE." (i.e., substitution for the word CAKE). Remember that initially the easiest words for the child to "catch" will be ones that differ greatly from the real word (e.g., shoe for "cake") and are incorrect within the context of the story. Later, try substituting words that are similar except for one sound (e.g., Coke for CAKE) and gradually substitute a word that is similar but is a nonsense word (e.g., Keek for CAKE).

 

5) Auditory Sequencing and Discrimination -

a) Use the game listed in #2B.

b) Select several noisemakers and hide them behind a screen (e.g., file folder). Have the child listen to the sounds then attempt to repeat the sequence when you remove the screen. You may ask the child to identify whether the sounds were "loud" vs. "quiet" or "high" vs. "low".

c) Use the game listed in #4B.

 

6) Auditory Association -

a) Use puzzle cards with associated common objects (e.g., shoe and sock) to stimulate auditory association with the visual pairing of information. Encourage the child to use closure to identify the picture that matches each card (e.g., The milk goes with the ______.). Say the sentence cue before allowing the child to see the pictures that may match then allow the child to scan the pictures to find the correct card, if no verbal response is given.

b) Encourage the child to associate a sound with a word beginning with that sound. Use a "pop" block with a toy inside or any small boxes marked with a letter and with toys inside that begin with that letter. Then, as you make the sound, open the box to reveal the toy (i.e., t-t-t-top). Encourage the child to recall the item in the box on subsequent attempts by pausing after you say the sound, such as "t-t-t..........top." After the child has progressed in recalling the names of items in the boxes, you can vary the activity by taking the toys out of the boxes and seeing if the child can replace them correctly or by changing the toys in the blocks and seeing if the child can quickly learn a new associated word.

 

7) Sound Blending -

a) With pictures or magnets in front of the child, say a word syllable-by-syllable (easiest) then later sound by sound and have the child find the correct picture.

b) Use sound-blending techniques to cue the child to recall words or verbalize events as described in #3C.

 

8) Auditory Attention -

a) Ask the child to listen for a particular word (e.g., firetruck or doorbell) as you read a story with a repetitive theme. The child can perform an action (e.g., ring a bell or push a buzzer) when the target word is heard.

b) Ask the child to count (initially aloud, then later silently) as you drop objects into a container.  Then have the child to tell you the number or repeat the actions you have performed.

 

9) Auditory Reception -

a) Use toys in unusual ways and then ask the child to identify if the action was "silly." For example, with a barn and animals, ask the child "Do cows fly?" while you fly the cow through the air. Continue the progression of the activity by asking the question before doing the action, so that the child must use his/her auditory skills to comprehend the verbalization and visualize the action to answer the question.

b) Listen to stories on tape and have the child follow directions, answer questions, or find pictures according to the story description.

 

Parent-Child Services Group, Inc. 4/99
Lynne F. Harmon, M.A., CCC-SLP
Permission to copy for educational purposes