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Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Optional: Scarves to cover eyes

For Listening Boxes

  • Ten, identical small plastic canisters (such as empty pill bottles or 35mm film canisters, with lids) or ten, identical cardboard boxes with lids (such as for jewelry)
  • Handfuls of five different noise-making materials such as small rocks, pennies, sand, small pencil erasers, or paper clips
For Wise Master. A variety of items that can be dropped on the floor, such as a wooden spoon, a string of beads, a pillow, a squeak toy, a metal can, and a sponge

Preparation for Activity

  • Decide which games to play. Gather the materials you will need. Consider providing several games at different stations if the group is large and the meeting space is a favorable one for simultaneous, small group listening activities. Rotating among several stations keeps the momentum up.
  • Listening Boxes. To make the shakers, place materials that make different sounds in containers to make five matching pairs. Use tape as needed to secure lids.

Description of Activity

Emphasize that in all of these games, the better participants listen, the better they will succeed.

Listening Boxes

Explain that in this game, participants use listening skills to identify matching pairs. Ask participants to shake the boxes (gently) and guess the contents. Then tell them there are pairs of shakers with the same contents. Ask them to identify matching pairs.

Wise Master

Invite participants to sit in a circle. Designate one child to be the "Wise Master" and stand or sit in the center with eyes closed (or, wearing a scarf tied around the eyes). Other participants chant:

Master, Master, do you hear?

Someone's coming very near!

A participant picks up one item and drops it on the floor. After hearing the sound, the "Wise Master" tries to guess which item was dropped.

To take turns, allow each "Wise Master" to continue guessing until they guess an item correctly - or until they guess one wrong. Or, give each "Wise Master" three items to guess and then choose a new "Wise Master."

Sounds in the Room

Have the participants close their eyes (or tie scarfs around their eyes) and take turns identifying a sound you make using everyday objects in the room. Try:

  • Opening/closing a door or window
  • Flipping a light switch
  • Running a toy truck across the floor or a table
  • Dropping a sweater or coat on the floor
  • Uncapping a marker
  • Writing with a marker on newsprint
  • Cutting paper with scissors

Invite participants, one at a time, to make a sound and have the others guess what it is.

Listening Walk

Take participants on a listening walk around your facility, both indoors and (weather permitting) outdoors. Invite them to form pairs. If they are comfortable, have one person cover their eyes with a scarf while the other leads. What sounds are in the congregational office? Do you hear different sounds in the kitchen? What sounds are outside? Have pairs switch roles, and return to the meeting space - perhaps by a different route.

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For more information contact religiouseducation@uua.org.

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