Part of perspective taking involves being able to listen – a task that can be quite challenging for young children. In the Tools of the Mind program, they encouraged children to develop listening skills by playing a game where one child will hold a picture of a mouth and another will hold a picture of an ear. The child with the ear has to listen while the child with the mouth talks. After a while, they swap pictures and the other child takes a turn talking while the other child listens. The visual pictures help the children remember the task they are given.
In communicating, children need to learn how to express themselves effectively. It is easy to communicate, but in order to communicate effectively, we need to make sure that others interpret our words in the way that we mean them.
Recently, at G2’s school, I saw an interesting game that the children play which encourages both listening and communicating skills. I thought it was a rather clever game. Here’s how it works…
You need two sets of duplo blocks with exactly the same blocks in the same colours (we’ve given away our Duplo blocks so we’re using Lego blocks instead). Each child receives one set.
Sitting back to back so they cannot see each other, one child will describe how to put the blocks together to create a structure. By listening to the first child’s instructions, the second child has to try to build the exact same structure.
I played the game at school with G2 and he made the structure on the left. Listening to his instructions, I made the structure on the right.
The game is great for helping the children practice listening carefully and giving clear instructions.