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16 Fun Sense of Hearing Activities for Preschoolers

These sense of hearing activities will help you explore the senses with children in a fun and interesting way.

Whether you are simply looking for some sensory development ideas or trying to teach the concept of senses through a preschool theme, these 16 ideas are a great starting point.

1. Guess That Sound

Show children a variety of small objects: coins, sand, dry macaroni, paperclips, cotton balls and dry rice. 

Give them a chance to manipulate small buckets of these objects. Then, using plastic hollow eggs or balls, fill two of each with those same objects. 

Get the kids to shake them and try to find the eggs with matching sounds, also attempting to name which objects they contain.

2. Match That Tone

Give children time to explore with play xylophones and mallets. 

Colourful xylophone

After they become familiar with how they work, face the children and set up a barrier between you. Play one note/tone at a time and challenge the kids to find the same note to play on their own xylophones.

3. Learn about Sign Language

Share picture books with children from the Moses Goes to series by Isaac Millman. Watch the read-aloud below.

The little boy, Moses, is deaf and communicates with his deaf friends through American Sign Language. 

Kids can learn the signs for many words and ideas.

4. Learn about Hearing Aids

Share the picture book Gracie’s Ears by Debbie Blackington.

This rhyming story follows a little girl who is hearing challenged as she is fitted for hearing aids and then experiences the wonders of hearing everything around her.

5. Go on a Hearing Hike

Set out on a hike in the park, neighbourhood or garden. 

Challenge the children to listen for and name the sounds they hear: birds singing, cars driving past, an airplane moving across the sky, a fire engine in the distance, or a train chugging along the tracks. 

Child sitting in nature with binoculars, looking around

Especially if the source is something they cannot see, encourage kids to use describing words that explain the sounds they hear.

6. Noise Detectives

Get kids to wear blindfolds or keep their eyes shut tightly. Make various noises with things around the house or classroom, and they can guess what is making those sounds. 

Ideas include:

  • Running water into a pot
  • Zipping a jacket
  • Opening and closing a door
  • Placing toys in baskets
  • Picking up keys
  • Closing the window blinds.

7. Loud and Soft

Using catalogues and magazines with plenty of pictures, ask kids to cut or tear out photos of things that make noise. 

After each child has collected examples, make a poster with the word “loud” on one side and “soft” on the other. 

Decide as a group in which category each picture’s sound fits the best and have the children help to tape or glue them in that position.

8. Drum Parade

Marching to music, children beat on toy drums or those made from various saved containers. 

Child pretending pots are drums and banging on them with wooden spoons

Challenge them to find things around the room or home to use as drumsticks to make different types of sounds, such as:

  • Cardboard tubes
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Drinking straws
  • Plastic spoons 

Which sounds are the loudest or softest? Which sounds did they like the best?

9. Dance to the Beat

Show children how to listen to various music clips and then move/dance in a matching fashion: slow, fast, floating, sleepy, jazzy, spooky and ballet-like. 

Mom and daughter dancing in the living room

Then, play short pieces of music for the kids to hear and react with their own matching responses to the various beats.

10. Play Telephone

Whisper a word or short phrase into one child’s ear, who repeats it to the next child in line. This continues until the last person who has heard the message says it aloud. 

The kids are often surprised to discover that the message has been misunderstood and changed!

Here are 100 Telephone Game phrases to try.

11. Science of Sound

How do you explain hearing to a child? Begin with exploring the concept of sound!

Sounds All Around: The Science of How Sound Works by Susan Hughes explains the vibration of sound to young kids and shows how that relates to our hearing.

12. Make Musical Instruments

For a fun sense of hearing arts and crafts project, offer a variety of loose parts for kids to make their own musical instruments. 

For example, save those paper towel cardboard rolls and have the kids cover them with shiny aluminium foil, then decorate them with coloured paper or tissue paper snippets. 

Children can also decorate plain paper plates cut in half with markers, crayons or coloured paper. Tape two together, filling with dried peas, beans or rice before the last opening is secured to make maracas. 

Search the web for ideas of other fun handmade instruments.

13. Who Said Moo?

Get children to practise listening to animal sounds by making one sound at a time and asking them to guess who makes that noise.

Include pet sounds, neighbourhood animals, creatures of the forest, animals of the jungle, and even some ocean animals that make noises. 

Close up of child's ear

14. I Hear with My Little Ear

I Hear with My Little Ear is a variation of “I Spy with My Little Eye” that gives children a chance to think about different kinds of sounds. 

Some sounds are loud, soft, fast, sad or even scary!

15. Listener Copy Cats

Clap or beat out a simple rhythm pattern for the children who are listening carefully. Challenge them to copy that very same rhythm. 

The kids can then take turns being “the leader” for the other kids to copy.

16. Draw Listening Pictures

Learning to be an attentive listener is an important aspect of hearing for young children. 

Give each child a blank sheet of paper with a pencil. Tell a story that includes directions for what they should draw on their papers, one step at a time. 

They can colour at the end after their basic pictures are drawn.

Here are some listen-and-draw ideas to get you started.

Beyond hearing and auditory perception, a focus on each of the following is crucial to kids’ sensory development, either through planned activities or guided sensory play.

Check out the fun for each of these areas:

Child's xylophone. Text reads "16 sense of hearing activities for preschoolers".

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