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Really Listening – activities for your family

Make your own family’s “Day of Listening” to both record family stories and for everyone to practice their listening skills.

Here are some family games that help sharpen listening skills:

Series of Sound

Using everyday items, you can incorporate hidden sounds into a family game. Challenge family members to listen for, draw, and repeat a series of common sounds. It’s amazing how much everyone tunes out the sounds around them.


  • Collect everyday objects such as a stapler, book, paper, kitchen tools or toys and place in a plastic bin or cardboard box.
  • Be sure to have a variety of items on hand to make noise with. Take turns making organizing a set number of these. For example, a series might include banging a book on the desk, bouncing a small ball, stomping your foot, clapping your hands, stapling papers, whistling, clicking keyboard keys, or shaking a bag of Lego blocks.


  1. After dinner, have everyone at the table listen for sounds made only by the designated “sound engineer.”
  2. Every time a new sound is made, everyone should draw a picture of the item that made the sound.
  3. After all the sounds are made, share everyone’s lists, pass around the items drawn and recreate the series of sounds in order. Celebrate everyone’s listening success and laugh about the sounds no one got.

The Last Word

Multi-tasking is an essential element of effective listening. Similar to a common improvisation activity, this game challenges students to listen to classmates while also preparing a relevant statement in their head. Small or large groups can easily play ‘The Last Word.’

  1. Choose a topic such as in the jungle, prehistoric life, an episode of a TV show, or a new pop song.
  2. Select an order by handing out numbers or base your order on the seating arrangements.
  3. The first player must walk to the front of the room and say one sentence that relates to the chosen topic.
  4. The next player must immediately walk to the front of the room and say one sentence that starts with the last word said by the player immediately before them.
  5. Play continues until all students have had a turn. If a student is unable to come up with an appropriate sentence within ten seconds, he is out of the game.
  6. Game play continues in this fashion until there is only one person left and he is the winner.

Story Builder

Instead of playing 20 Questions on your next car trip. start a story where one person starts a story with a single sentence. Each person adds a new sentence, but only after repeating all of the previous sentences.

Check out this list of 15 Activities to Build Listening Skills: