Listening Game 1 : Just Listening
Guide the children to simply listen to the sounds around them in the classroom. It works best with eyes closed and body still (gently rocking or swaying is always OK too). (30 – 60 seconds)
Listening Game 2 : Extended Listening
Use listening as a Brain Break on a routine basis. Ask the class to stop and listen to all the sounds they can hear (loud / soft / nearby / far-away / pleasant / unpleasant). Listening to unpleasant sounds while being in a calm, non-reactive state helps train the brain to be less reactive to aural disturbances. (2 mins) Discuss what the students heard afterwards.
Listening Game 3: Writing Down the Sounds
Older children can identify and count sounds for one minute, then write them down on a piece of paper. Share how many different sounds you heard. Do another minute and see if you get more or less. The second time may yield more sounds due to being more in tune with the environment. (2-3 minutes).
Listening Game 4: Listening to Gong Fade
Ring a resonant instrument such as a gong, or copper pipe struck with metal implement. Instruct the children to listen to the sound fading. As it fades, children raise an arm or put hands on belly or head. Shakti’s tip: Before you start, use your index finger and thumb to demonstrate a decreasing sound wave, while moving your hand away from your head, demonstrating that the sound waves are getting fainter. Ask the children to do the same.
Listening Game 5: Moving with the Gong
Stand up and walk, freeze on gong, continue walking when sound has faded. Or, do the same lying down then sitting up; sitting up then lying down. Or, lying down, ask the children to place their arms by their sides. When the gong has faded, gently place your hands on your belly; when everyone has their hands on their belly, ring the gong again, and when they can’t hear it any more, put their hands back on the floor. Continue alternating this way.
Listening game 6: Animal Paradise
This game encourages stillness, quiet time and self-control for younger children. Choose an animal, or let the children take turns picking an animal, and get them to move freely about the classroom, making the sounds of their chosen animal. Ring the gong. Children freeze in their animal pose and stay there quietly until they can no longer hear the sound of the gong.
This tip comes from Gopala Amire Yaffe from Rainbow Kids Yoga.
Listening Game 7: Tongue Twister
Everyone repeats Shakti’s tongue twister: “Listen lots lest lessons lessen lots”. Or make up your own tongue twister.
Listening Game 8: Sound Detective
This game is good for years 3 & 4. Ask the children to close their eyes and rest their heads on their arms or their desks. Tell them you’re going to walk around and choose one person by squeezing them gently on the arm. I like to walk around the classroom singing my Listening Song, to the tune of ‘Twinkle, twinkle little Star’:
“Listen, listen can you hear, all the sounds around us here?
Some are loud and some low; some move fast and others slow
Listen, listen can you hear, all the sounds afar and near?”
Return to the front of the room and ask the chosen person to make a sound, any kind sound (can be vocal or tapping desk or object in some way). Everyone else keeps their heads down and eyes closed, listening carefully. Then the guessing begins! Who made the sound, and what was the sound they made? Tip: Make sure the person who made the sound also raises their arm enthusiastically, otherwise the other children will easily deduce who made the sound.