Listening Games for Kids

Inside: 8 Fun Ways to Practice Listening with Kids using games - perfect for school, groups or even at home!

How many times have you said something, and it clearly didn’t register with your child because YOU hear...

“Oh, I didn’t hear you”

“I wasn’t listening, what did you say?”

“I didn’t hear you say that!!”

And you get frustrated, and think to yourself “Why aren’t they listening?!!?”

Sometimes, kids need practice to improve their listening skills. As always, the best way to practice is by playing games. Here are several fun ways to work on listening with kids - these can work for home or for school.


A classic game for working on listening. Start with one sentence, and whisper it to the person next to you. The last person says the sentence they heard out loud. This kind of game works especially well with larger groups.

Bonus - you can use it to demonstrate how stories change as rumors spread.

Freeze Dance

This game requires kids to listen for the music stopping AND to stop their bodies. This is a good way to work on impulse control as well. Pick a fun song, stopping it occasionally and seeing who freezes their bodies. Try to hide the music source so kids can’t see when you’re about the stop it.

End of the word - beginning of the next

This is a fun game that my mother in law taught my kids. It requires listening to the word the previous person said, then coming up with a word that starts with the letter they ended on.


It’s great for car rides, or waiting in restaurants, because all it requires is listening. Want a challenge? Make it more complex by limiting the categories, like only naming animals.

Tell a Group Story

The first person starts a story with one sentence. Then the next person adds onto the story, and it continues until everyone has contributed at least one sentence to the story. (For smaller groups, you can go around two or three times). This requires listening to what has already been said and making connections, as well as working together as a group.

Mother, May I

The person who is the “mother” stands on one end of a space, while the other players line up at the other end. Each player takes a turn asking if they can move (Mother, May I take 3 giant steps forward?) Lots of fun listening here. It’s also great for following directions and taking turns being the leader.

Red Light Green Light

Start with the traditional Red Light means Stop and Green Light means go. There are several entertaining variations you can add in:

  • Different colors means different types of movement, like yellow light means skipping, purple light means crab walking or blue light means hopping

  • Pretend to be a different animal for different colors (yellow = lion, green = bunny, purple = frog, etc)

  • you can say words that rhyme with red or green to see if they catch the difference "Bread Light! Teen Light!" Very silly, and quite fun.

Simon Says

This game requires listening for a certain phrase, and moving only when the leader includes Simon Says. This is another game that works on controlling impulses and players can take turns being the leader.

The Rain Game

Did you know you can make the sound of a rainstorm just with your fingers? This sounds AMAZING with a large group, but it’s also cool with a small group. Sit in a circle with your group. Direct the kids to pay attention to what the person on their right is doing and as soon as they do an action, then they do it too.

Then go through the following sequence

  • rub thumb and forefinger together

  • rub hands together

  • Snap fingers

  • Clap hands

  • Slap thighs

  • Stomp feet

  • Slap thighs

  • Clap hands

  • Snap fingers

  • Rub hands

  • rub thumb and forefinger together

  • Hands on lap

Ask the kids what they heard. It should sound just like a rainstorm passing through, getting more intense, and then getting less intense. Such a cool class wide activity!!

What’s your favorite way to practice listening?

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