7 Daily Activities that will Improve Your Child’s Auditory Processing Skills

An auditory processing disorder can pose a challenge for many children as it complicates their ability to grow in various areas of life—from academics, to play, to daily living skills.

The good news is that there are many things you can do as a parent to help your child improve their abilities and overcome these challenges. Some of them are simple, everyday and fun tasks that can be done in the comfort of your own home or neighborhood.

Each of the activities discussed below is listed here because it can help train the body to get this system back in order. Depending on the nature of a particular child’s challenges, you may find some of the activities more useful or relevant than others.

Read on below to learn how you can put these to use in your own child’s life.

  1. Play Classic Games Like Musical Chairs and Simon Says!

Believe it or not, the simple act of playing some games can be an excellent tool for helping to train a child’s auditory processing abilities—as long as it’s a game that involves reacting to sound-based prompts.

The best part? These criteria are met by many of the common, everyday games that kids already love—so working on their skills won’t have to feel like a chore. Some of the games we recommend are Musical Chairs, Simon Says, What Time Is It Mr. Fox?, and Red Light/Green Light. Each of these games involves following verbal instructions, and therefore requires the players to recognize a variety of auditory cues and react accordingly.

  1. Get Outside and Identify Everyday Sounds

Take your child out of the house to a new setting, and see how many individual sounds they can identify in the background. This is a very versatile activity that can practically be done from any location, such as your local park or grocery store.

This too can be made into a game, and can be lots of fun if you change up the destination and setting each time you play. Maybe one day, take them to a music store or zoo and see if they can recognize their favorite instruments or animals by their sounds alone!

  1. Dance, Dance, Dance!

Dance is another activity that kids already love, but can also be extremely useful for you as a parent in helping them work on their auditory processing challenges. Because dancing inherently involves associating sounds with physical responses, it can be a valuable activity for helping them practice paying closer attention to auditory stimuli and making connections between what they hear and how they react. 

Even if your child is not the type to enjoy formal dance training or lessons, encouraging them to move with the rhythm of their favorite songs is an easy way to add some auditory training to their average day.

  1. Listen to Recordings

Playing recordings to your child is another creative way to help train them in drawing connections between what reaches their ears and what their brain understands. Because  recordings are a purely auditory medium, listening to them isolates this one skill and forces you to recognize and react to stimuli based on their sound alone.

Try challenging your child to identify sounds on a recording that would be familiar to them in ‘real life.’ When they try to make sense of sounds without any other cues to assist, they will hone this skill and improve their abilities.

  1. Match Sights with Sounds

This one is pretty self-explanatory, and can be done in many different ways. Whether you want to use pictures of objects or the real things, see if your child can identify what makes which sound, and vice versa. You can also listen to a recording of a sound and see if your child can identify what the sound is. This can also be useful for children who face memory or visual processing challenges, in addition to helping on the auditory processing front.

  1. Play Hide and Seek, with Hidden Objects

Try a modified version of hide and seek where instead of the players themselves hiding, you hide a loud object, such as a signing object or something playing music such as a bluetooth speaker, and encourage your child to find it using its sounds as a clue to its location. Many common household items can work for this purpose, such as alarm clocks, toys, and radios.

In addition to practicing associating certain sounds with certain objects, this will help your child recognize the connection between sound and location.

  1. Let Your Child Correct Your Mistakes

Sing a song, or read a familiar story/excerpt to your child—but intentionally change the order of the words or get the lyrics wrong. Then, have your child try to identify which part was wrong, and why. If possible, have them correct you and offer the right order/lyrics.

The idea here is to help your child learn to make sense of auditory stimuli by differentiating between the meanings of different sounds. Because this activity involves multiple steps, it can be beneficial as a ‘workout’ for multiple aspects of their auditory processing, and can therefore be useful for those with a wide variety of different challenges.

Try some of these out and let us know what you see success with! Occupational Therapy truly can be a game-changing tool for children struggling with auditory processing challenges.

If you found this information useful, and would like to learn more or find out how our programs can further help your child, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Our team of experts at Smart Stride OT are always happy to chat and to assist in any way we can.

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