Friday 23 March 2012


Montessori Activity: Training Ability to Listen to Sounds (3A)

Idea from the book "Phonemic Awareness in Young Children"

Age: From 2.5 years old

1. To stimulate the development of phonemic awareness in children.
2. To train your child's ability to focus their attention on specific sounds of interest

Recording of various sounds such as:
- Birds chirping
- Buses passing
- Cars
- Clock ticking
- Dog
- Water dripping from tap
- Fan turning
- Footsteps
- Hair-dryer
- Motorcycle's engine
- Ocean waves
- Rustling of tree leaves
- Scissors cutting
- Swallowing
- Train
- Voices
- Washing machine
- Wind

You can download for free evaluation of the sounds here:

1. Start by talking about the difference between listening with eyes closed and with eyes open.

2. Ask your child to close his eyes and listen for a few seconds or 1 minute (depending on the age of your child. For younger child, start with only a few seconds and gradually build up). Your child will listen to the sounds in his surroundings or play the MP3 player.

3. Thereafter, invite your child to name the different sounds that he heard. He will quickly learn to listen actively.

Repeat this game in a different location.

Additional Information:
According to the book, "Phonemic Awareness in Young Children" by Marilyn Jager Adams, Barbara R. Foorman and Ingvar Lundberg, the goal of this game is to develop the child's linguistic awareness in a way that cognitively prepares them for learning to read and write. The children are asked to listen to many everyday sounds. Through this game, the children will discover that if they pay attention and listen, they will b e able to hear sounds around them.

This book provides even a suggested schedule on how to introduce the phonic activities for kindergarten children. The whole program takes about 8 months. I highly recommend this book:

You can buy ready recorded sounds for convenience from Amazon below:

or you can download for evaluation for free from this website, which is what I do, since Amazon does not sell to our geographical region:

This year, I am focusing on Maths and Language with Joshua. I believe that this game can be started with younger children of 2 years old, but I didn't have the time to explore that then, being a working mom, as our last year curriculum concentrated on Montessori Practical Life.

This game is actually very similar to the Montessori's Silence game. Joshua had tried this today for the first time. I tried to make action to go with the sounds, incurring lots of giggle and laughter from Joshua. He found it fun. He could guess the sound of cars and voices of people easily from the recording. He could not guessed so well the sounds of birds, thinking that they were ducks. He mistook the sound of waves to be the sound of cars. He guessed correctly the sound of scissors cutting only after I made the cutting handsign to go along with the sound. Similarly for the sound of wind. He could not gues the sound of footsteps and clock. After listening to the recording of clock, we went to his playroom to listen to his clock. It made him more aware and interested in listening to the real clock, after this activity. After today, I think it has made him more aware of the different sounds in our surrounding. I am following the suggested programme schedule by this book and will be repeating this again soon.

Phonemics Awareness in Young Children by Marilyn Jager Adams, Barbara R. Foorman and Ingvar Lundberg

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