Mommy, you hear that sound?

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This is one my toddler’s favorite questions lately…”Mommy, you hear dat sound?” It’s partly an echo of something I often say to him–“Honey, I hear you.” Anyone with a toddler knows they like to ask the same question over and over again, and so my kiddo hears the response a lot. “Yes honey, I hear you, you really want to brush the cat with my hairbrush and I said no.”

Him asking this adorable question reminds me of a great springtime speech and language activity–a listening walk. It’s finally been nice enough here to get out of the house, and after a long winter we are ready. This activity not only gets you and your children outside, but it’s also a great opportunity to enrich your child’s speech and language skills.

A listening walk is nearly as simple as it sounds. Head outside, and take turns naming (or asking) what you hear with your child. You can make your answers as simple or complex as needed to meet your child where they are. If your child says “I hear a car!” you can add “Me too, it’s a loud car!” or “It’s a loud, rumbly, noisy car!” If you hear a bird chirping, you can talk about what kind of bird it is, or use some direction words to talk about where the squirrel is running like “He’s running to the very tippy top of the tree!”

If you have a new listener like a younger child, or a child who is getting used to new technology like hearing aids or cochlear implants, you can make the language even simpler. When you hear a sound, stop, point to where you hear it, and say “Listen, car!” You’re still helping them identify the sound, locate it, and name it.

Try out a listening walk, and let me know how it goes in the comments below!