Use listening activities to excite your teen about hearing something other than her music or cell phone.

Listening Activities for Teens

by Laura Roberts

“Mom, I never heard you say that!” If selective hearing is a common disease in your household, like in most other teenage homes, help your child strengthen that auditory memory with a series of games and activities. Change her attitude toward the art of listening and remembering details through an activity that will engage her cognitive skills. The tricks may not obliterate the classic case of teenager-itis, but practice can train her to receive more from classroom lectures while transforming into a more sensitive listener.

1. Secret Spy Clues

Use spy-training techniques to pique your teen’s interest in listening and remembering auditory clues. Read details about made-up personalities such as their names, physical descriptions and addresses. Next, give your teen only part of the clues, such as the name only or the address only, and challenge him to fill in the rest of what he can remember. To make the game more difficult, wait five or ten minutes before quizzing him on the details again.

2. Random Word Repetition

Read a list of 10 random words at a time, and ask your child to repeat as many words as he can remember. For a spin on the activity, have him read something else for a few minutes before you read more random words. This time, he has to pick out which ones were in the original grouping. As your teen becomes more skilled in remembering the words, increase the list to 20 and then 30 words at a time. If multiple teenagers are participating, they can each receive a point for each correct answer.

3. Music Memory

Play a theme from a piece of classical music. Wait five minutes and play three choices of classical music themes while your teen determines which one he heard earlier. If your teen is familiar with the sounds of orchestra instruments, challenge him to listen to a piece and pick out the instruments he hears. Then, play a selection by one instrument at a time. Ask your teen if each one was part of the classical piece or not. He can refer back to the original composition as needed.

4. Intonation Interpretation

Strengthen your teen’s social skills by training him to listen for the emotional clues in someone’s inflections that show how she is feeling. Play audio recordings of short segments of actor’s monologues or famous speeches. Ask your teen to write down what emotion he hears in the voice intonations – whether it is surprise, fear, sadness, excitement or irritation. Have the teens compare what each one interpreted from the recordings.

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