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Play and Learn With Listening Games

by Tania Cowling | July 11th, 2016 | Behavior, Infants/Toddlers

Baby-playing-with-baby-toy-piano-or-guitarIt’s tough to teach listening behavior to infants and toddlers, so at this age introduce your little one to games that will develop his listening skills. As you enhance sounds and learning to follow directions to simple games, your little learner will become in tune to your commands.

Here are a few bonding games from infancy to toddlerhood that will stimulate interest in listening.

Taping Sounds

Although your baby can hear sounds within the womb, the noise is distant and muffled. After the baby is born these sounds become a source of unexplained fascination; this activity is a way to enhance the child’s listening skills. Use a portable tape recorder to secretly record a variety of sounds. Include familiar noises, such as a dog barking, the doorbell, a musical toy, door closing, and Daddy’s voice, just to name a few. Lay your baby on a blanket or inside an infant seat and play the tape. Watch her reaction as each new sound is played, then identify the sounds using simple words.

This game can also be played with toddlers. Ask him to name the sounds. You can also record a listening treasure hunt with directions such as, “Walk to the family room. Stand by the red chair. Hop to the kitchen. Look in the bottom cabinet to find your treasure.”

Sounds and Rhythm

Babies are keenly sensitive to sound, so play soft lullabies and traditional children’s songs for them. By eight or nine months your baby will pick up some rhythm and begin to bounce on her bottom as you sing a well-known tune, such as Row, Row, Row Your Boat or The Wheels on the Bus. Next, bring out a set of children’s play instruments so she can experience the strum of a guitar or tinker the keys on a toy piano.

Toddlers enjoy this activity, too. Don’t be surprised if he picks up a familiar tune and begins to hum along when you sing. Before you know it, he will start verbalizing the words. Kids learn by repetition, so sing these songs often.

How About Some Tube Talking

Your baby and toddler’s language skills increase rapidly from single words to nearly 50 by 18 months old. Have your child listen to you talk through a tube and have her repeat the sound.

Take two paper towel or toilet cardboard tubes. Hold one tube to your mouth and talk to your child. The sound will be amplified. Now give the second tube to your little one and invite her to imitate you. Hold the tube up to her mouth to help her get started. Have fun making sounds and words. Why not hum a favorite song, too!

These games help young children with speech improvement, language development, and listening skills. Your young child is beginning to express emotions by listening to you (the role model) and then using simple words. Hopefully he may be less likely to act out physically if he can calmly verbalize. These are the first steps to control his behavior, but this skill takes time, so don’t expect overnight changes.

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