Preschoolers are constantly observing and learning new things, but with all the sensory overload of a preschool classroom they may struggle to focus on one task at a time. Listening activities teach children to concentrate on what they're hearing. If preschoolers learn to be careful listeners, they will be able to better retain the lessons and safety information you give them.
Activities that require preschoolers to follow directions will not only help them learn to listen, but also teach them to respect their teachers. Play games such as "Simon Says," which requires children to listen carefully to each direction. In the game, children must only follow directions that you begin with "Simon says..." For an outdoor activity, hide a toy somewhere in the playground. Verbally guide children toward it by giving directions such as "Take two steps forward, then take three steps toward the slide." This game helps preschoolers prepare to move into kindergarten and beyond, in which they will be expected to follow directions to complete projects.
Listening activities that focus on word sounds help preschoolers learn about rhyming. Give children a keyword such as "ant." Read a list of words or make up a story to tell them. Include several words that rhyme with ant. Ask children to raise their hands each time they hear a word that rhymes with the keyword. You may also request children to close their eyes while they play, so they can't copy one another. These activities help children learn the sound of each letter, which will help them learn to recognise letters and sound out words when they begin learning to read in kindergarten.
Preschoolers may get distracted by the rhythm or tone of your voice and fail to process what you're saying. Listening comprehension activities teach children to both listen and understand. Since there are so many distractions in a preschool classroom, take children into an empty hallway or ask them to face a blank wall while they do these activities. Read a story or play a book on tape. At the end of the story, ask children questions about what they heard. If they can't remember certain details, play the story again so children can listen more closely.
Preschool children can use their sense of sound to understand their environments, which requires them to slow down and listen. Use the sounds that are found around your classroom and school to teach children about listening. Ask children to close their eyes and be quiet for a minute. At the end of the minute, invite children to tell the class what noises they heard. Ask children to guess what caused the sounds. You may also take children outside to listen for sounds, such as blowing wind and chirping birds. These activities help preschoolers build critical-thinking skills by requiring them to analyse the sounds they hear. Listening to the sounds around them can also teach children to pay attention to their surroundings, teaching preschoolers to stay aware and thereby safe.