Have you ever asked a child “Did you hear me?” Most children will hear this question a lot as they grow up. Hearing involves the mechanical aspects of sound; sound entering the structure of the ear. Chances are the child probably heard you talking to them but they were not listening. Listening differs from hearing because it is an acquired skill in which the child has to practice listening and mentally processing the sound. Listening activities that involve the child focusing on only one sound allows the child to practice skills of attention and engaged listening.
A fun way to practice listening skills and spend time together as a family is to make crafts. One of my favorite craft activities is ocean drum making. It allows the child to develop his/her creativity skills as well as have a homemade instrument as the end result. The ocean drum is easy and you can make it out of materials you may already have in your pantry at home.
- 2 paper plates
- Lentil beans
Steps to Make an Ocean Drum
1. Decorate the back or bottom of one or both of the paper plates. This is the side of the plate that would typically sit on the table. They can be decorated in any way. I recommend decorating the plates in a way that represents the child’s interests.
2. Turn over the paper plates so that the non-decorated side is facing up.
3. Pour 2-3 handfuls of lentil beans into the plate.
4. Take the other plate and place it on top of the plate with the lentil beans in it. This plate should have the bottom (or decorated side) of the plate facing up to you.
5. Staple the plates together. The bottoms of each plate should both be facing outwards. Each staple needs to touch the previous staple so that there are no openings in the drum for the beans to escape.
6. Time to jam with your ocean drums. See how many different sounds your child can make with their ocean drums. They can make fast, slow, loud, soft, tapping sounds, etc. Exploring the sounds the ocean drum makes is a great way to work on the active listening. Feel free to also turn on some quiet/relaxing music and playing along with the recording.