The Sound Box listening game is marvelous for toddlers and small children because they are insatiably curious and simply can’t resist having a go and a guess! This game is perfect for encouraging shy children to come forward and speak up, and the more confidant ones to listen carefully before just calling out the answer. It can be played with just one child, or in a group and comes in handy at parties as a quieter activity for calming things down.
To play the game you need a number of small containers and a larger box to hide them in. I use old camera film canisters but you could use any small container which has a removable, secure lid (kinder-eggs would work well). It is important for them not to be see-through, so you can’t see the contents, but you could easily cover them with paper or stickers. Then you collect up a number of small items that will make a distinctive sound, such as pennies, shells, pasta, sugar, rice, feathers etc. There are endless possibilities, but it is important that they make a recognisable sound.
Here’s a box! Here’s a lid!
Can you guess, inside what’s hid?
Can you guess? Can you hear?
If you listen with your ear!
You sing this little song, which is very easy to learn (the same tune as Little Brown Jug!) At the end of the song you produce one of the sound pots and offer it to the child to shake and listen to. Even really young toddlers love playing this listening game, and if they need a little help you can prompt them with easy clues like ‘something you find on the beach’ for shells or something that begins with a “sh” sound. They are usually desperate to see the contents, and you will have to be quick to supervise this in order to avoid showers of rice or the threat of small objects.
You can ask the children to help you count how many pennies or shells there are inside and encourage them to do this on their own if they want to. Repeat The Sound Box song before you bring out each new sound, and line up all the pots. At the end, let the child shake each one in turn and see if they remember it’s contents. Children love routine and order, and the regular sequence of singing, shaking, guessing, counting and then remembering at the end appeals to them. They love the reasoning and predicting element, and and are reassured by the repetitive pattern of the game. Older children really enjoy playing it too as it becomes a memory game, and they anticipate the sounds, listen carefully, and love to demonstrate how clever they are!