Auditory memory – which forms part of auditory perception – is an important skill for coping and succeeding in school.
Here are some simple auditory memory games and exercises to try with your kids in class or at home.
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, as explained by Marike de Witt in her book “The Young Child in Context: A psycho-social perspective“.
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 children need to develop this to be able to understand what they hear and to be able to follow directions and 2 part instructions at school.
Apart from coping better in general at school, auditory memory skill 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. Improving auditory memory is therefore important for building pre-reading skills.
12 Activities to Develop and Improve Auditory Memory
Here are 12 auditory memory games to play with your children. Each will help them to properly develop this vital skill in order to thrive in school, whether in reading, language or maths.
1. Listening Bingo
Give children Bingo boards with pictures or words on them. Do not show them the pictures; only say the words out loud. Kids have to rely on their listening skills to know what square to cover.
You can make this as easy or as challenging as needed for your kids. You can describe the object or image, 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 children and have them identify what the sound is.
This allows them to think back to what they already know and remember to recognize the different sounds.
4. Treasure Hunt
Hide something your children enjoy, whether it is a treat or a fun toy. Then, give them clues as to where to find their treasure.
The goal is to eventually give multiple instructions at the same time, so it is challenging to remember.
5. Sing a Song
Have kids learn a new song. Then ask them to sing it to you. You can also learn some new nursery rhymes or poems.
This activates their auditory memory as they try to remember the lyrics.
6. Sequence Memory
List items and ask your kids to repeat them to you 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.
Pick something to have children draw. Explain the steps to draw the picture successfully, sometimes using 2-part instructions.
Verbally tell them the instructions, so they work on their listening skills and remember the order of your instructions.
- Draw a house on a hill.
- Draw two windows on the house and add a red roof.
- Draw three clouds in the sky.
Here are some great following directions drawing activity ideas.
8. Chain Games
This is another fun auditory game to play with children. Start by saying, “I went to the store and bought…” and add one item. The children then repeat that phrase, adding an item to the list.
Keep adding items until someone forgets an item, then start a new round.
This helps strengthen auditory memory as kids need to remember a long list of items.
9. Take Messages
Have kids take messages to others in the house or school. Say something like, “Tell Johnny that I need him to pick up his green socks.” See if your children relay the message correctly and include every detail.
10. Remember What You Heard
Before doing an activity or playing a game, say a string of a few words and ask your children to remember then. Then get involved in any activity, such as moulding playdough or playing a board game.
After the activity, have your children recall all the words. This helps with long-term auditory memory.
11. Story Time
Reading to your children is a simple activity but has great value.
Read a story out loud. See if your children can remember parts of the story as you go along. In the end, see if they can remember what happened at the beginning of the story.
Ask questions about specific details to develop thinking skills.
To play the telephone game, 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 auditory memory activities with your children!
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Tuesday 25th of October 2022
What a fantastic article? Do you have links to the journals/books you used as reference?
Tuesday 25th of October 2022
Thank you! I have added my sources at the end of the article.
Tuesday 22nd of September 2020
Nicely written article!
Friday 25th of September 2020
Thank you Karen!