Listening games

How to Improve Your Preschooler’s Listening Skills with Antoinette Portis’ book Not a Box – Hands on Learning Games

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One of my favorite ways of improving my children’s learning skills is through books. Books are great for exposing your child to topics they wouldn’t have otherwise thought about, which is especially important for kids with language delays, who tend to be very weak in the kind of knowledge that other kids pick up just from their environment.

Books are also great for improving your child’s critical thinking skills, and there’s now research that shows wordless picture books are great for improving your child’s expressive language skills.

Still, I’m always cooking up new ways to use books, and today I have a new hands on learning activity that’s a good sequencing activity, and that helps improve your preschooler’s listening skills.


For this game, you’ll need a copy of Antoinette Portis’ book Not in a Box. I enjoyed the simplicity of this book, which makes the pictures clear and easy to understand for younger bunch, since some of them do have language delays. In the book, a rabbit finds a box, and manages to turn the box into a race car, a mountain, a burning building, and a robot before the story ends.

Every time he makes something creative from his box, he is asked “Why are you sitting in/standing on that box?” Your child will work on her listening skills by following along and sequencing the various items that the rabbit created.

How to play the game:

1. Read the story once through to your children, pointing to the pictures and naming the various objects that the rabbit created. Make sure your child repeats after you the names of each object, and points to the picture. Doing this encourages your child to use her visual system to support her weak auditory skills.

2. Go back to the beginning of the story, and name the first 2 objects that the rabbit created. Have your child repeat the names after you.

3. Then close the book, and ask your child to see if he can remember the names of those 2 items. If your child has trouble, you can give him a hint by saying part of the word out loud, letting your child fill in the blanks.

4. Continue going through the book this way, asking your child to remember one new item at a time, until she memorizes all of the items.

TIP: You can make this game easier by xeroxing the pictures, cutting them out, and letting your child sequence the pictures instead of having to verbally tell you what the items were.

You can make this game harder by having your child name the items forwards and backwards.

More fun stuff: You can extend this activity by helping your child create their own “Not a Box” story. Simply find a decent-sized box, take pictures of your child “creating,” and print them out on regular printer paper. You can ask your child to tell you the text as you write it down.


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  • […] other problem children with special needs often have is an unawareness of time, which is a sequencing issue. Their internal clock is often running faster or slower than the rest of the world. Hence you […]

  • Rachel Aug 30,2011 at 7:44 pm

    Thanks for dropping by Sandy!

  • sandy Aug 30,2011 at 6:00 pm

    I just happened upon your website this morning (followed a link from a link. . .). I am so happy to have found you! I have five children, and am homeschooling the three still living at home. My youngest is LD (anoxic brain injury). While we have professional support for our home learning, it is so nice to have another resource, especially from a mom in the trenches! I’m hitting the subscribe button. 🙂

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