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12 Auditory Memory Games and Activities to Prepare Your Child for Reading

Auditory memory – which forms part of auditory perception – is an important ability for coping and succeeding in school.

What is Auditory Memory?

Auditory memory is one aspect of auditory perception. It involves being able to remember what is heard and recall it later.

Auditory perception is the process that allows the brain to interpret what is being heard.

Here are other key aspects that make up auditory perception:

Auditory discrimination is the ability to understand what is heard and notice similarities and differences in sounds. 

Auditory sequential memory is the ability to remember what sounds or words came first, middle, and last.

Auditory analysis means being able to split up words into their sounds. This is necessary for learning to sound words out in order to read or spell.

Auditory synthesis is quite similar, but it is the process of putting the sounds in words back together.

Auditory foreground-background discrimination involves focusing on some sounds while eliminating others in the background. 

How Auditory Memory Affects Reading

Auditory memory is important because your child needs to develop this to be able to understand what he hears and to be able to follow directions and 2 part instructions at school.

Apart from coping better in general at school, auditory memory is also a vital part of developing auditory perception – which greatly determines reading ability. 

A child needs to learn how to remember sounds and to work with sounds in order to properly decode words when reading and spelling. Building auditory memory is therefore an important pre-reading skill.

12 Activities to Build Auditory Memory

Here are 12 auditory memory games to play with your child! Each will help them to properly develop this vital skill in order to thrive in school, whether in reading, language, or mathematics.

1. Bingo

Picture bingo

Have pictures or words on their board. Do not show them what you call; only say the word out loud. They have to use their auditory memory to know what square to cover.

You can make this as easy or as challenging as needed for your child. You can describe the object or thing, and they have to listen to figure out what square you are referring to.

2. Musical Chairs

Musical chairs is a fun game that kids will love at any age. Set up chairs in a circle and have one less than the number of people playing. Turn the music on and walk around the chairs. Whenever the music stops, everyone races to find a chair.

The person without a chair to sit on is out. This game involves listening to the music to hear when it stops.

3. Recorded Sounds

Record different sounds around the house. If you have a pet, record their sound, or the dishwasher, blow dryer, etc. Play those recordings for your child and have them identify what the sound is.

Cartoon dog barking

This allows them to think back to what they already know and remember to recognize the different sounds.

4. Treasure Hunt

Hide something your child enjoys, whether it is a treat or a fun toy. Then, tell them clues as to where to find their treasure.

The goal is to eventually give multiple instructions at the same time, so it is harder to remember. 

5. Sing a Song

Have your child learn a new song. Then have them sing it for you! You can also learn some new nursery rhymes or a poem. This activates their auditory memory as they try to remember the lyrics.

Mom and daughter singing in kitchen

6. Sequence Memory

List items and have your child tell you them in the correct order. It could be numbers, words, etc. Start off small and see how many they can get in a row. This also will help their sequential auditory memory.

Here are more sequencing activities for preschoolers.

7. Drawing

Pick something to have your child draw. Tell them each step to draw the picture successfully, sometimes adding 2-part instructions.

Verbally tell them the instructions, so they work on their listening skills and remembering the order of your instructions. 


  • Draw a house on a hill
  • Draw 2 windows on the house and add a red roof
  • Draw 2 clouds in the sky

Here are some great following directions drawing activity ideas.

Child drawing a picture

8. Chain Games

This is another fun auditory game to play with your child. Start by saying, “I went to the store and bought…” and add one item. Your child then repeats that phrase – what you bought – and then adds an item to the list.

Keep adding items until one of you forgets an item. This helps them strengthen their auditory memory as they are trying to remember a long list of items. Make sure only to list items they know.

9. Take Messages

Have your child take messages to other people in the house. Say something like, “tell Johnny that I need him to pick up his green socks.” See if your child relays the message correctly and includes every detail.

Son telling his father something

10. Remember What You Heard

Before doing an activity or playing a game, tell your child a word or phrase that he already knows and ask him to remember it. Then play an activity. This can be any activity. You can play with playdough or play a board game.

After the activity, have your child tell you what the word or phrase is. This activity helps to develop long-term auditory memory.

11. Story Time

Reading to your child is a simple activity but has great value.

Mother reading to child

Read a story out loud. See if your child can remember parts of the story as you go along. In the end, see if she can remember what happened at the beginning of the story. Ask questions about specific details to develop thinking skills.

12. Telephone

Start by sitting in a circle. One person thinks of a phrase and whispers it to the person next to them. Then, each person takes a turn, whispering what they heard. In the end, the last person repeats what they heard out loud.

The goal is to try to pass the correct phrase until the end. It often doesn’t happen which makes this game full of fun and laughter.

Enjoy trying these 12 great games with your child. Not only will you have a fun time and develop a stronger relationship, but you will also help them develop a strong auditory memory.

Would you like a year of done-for-you, ten-minute activities to teach your 3-5-year-old through play? Get your copy of the Learning Through Play Activity Pack for only $27.

Activity Pack for preschoolers

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Karen McDonald

Tuesday 22nd of September 2020

Nicely written article!

Tanja Mcilroy

Friday 25th of September 2020

Thank you Karen!

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