Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Toolbox of Faith: A Program That Helps Children Discover the Uses of Faith

Activity 4: Listening Workout

Activity time: 15 minutes

Preparation for Activity

  • Decide which activities to do with the group, and where to do them. The activity, Make a Noise, is especially fun in an outdoor setting. Because the song in the activity, Bingo: Sound and Silence, goes from sound toward silence, it makes a good transition into the Council Circle.
  • Sing or Chant a Silly Name Game. Make a list of all participants' names and do some advance planning to ensure these games do not transform any child's name into a mean or otherwise inappropriate word.

Description of Activity

Practice and emphasize listening skills through rhythm, songs, and chant.

Make a Noise

Invite participants to lie down on the floor or ground with their eyes closed. Tell them you will move silently to a particular spot and make a small, quiet sound (for example a gentle blow of breath, a soft whistle, rubbing fingers together or a small tapping rhythm). Ask participants to listen very hard and then point to where they think the sound is coming from. When everyone is pointing somewhere, tell them to open their eyes and see where they are all pointing. As time allows, have participants take turns making the quiet sound.

Making Rhythm

Have participants listen to the differences in sound when they clap their hands and when they slap their thighs. Participants may know a clapping rhythm game for all to try. Or, invite them to make up a rhythm pattern which includes both claps and slaps, for example, two claps and one slap. Encourage everyone to do it together 10 or 20 times. Try making other sounds using only body parts, such as by snapping fingers and clucking tongues. Incorporate these sounds into rhythm patterns.

You may like to make a game of guessing, simply by listening, the sounds that make up a rhythm. Form two groups and invite each group to create a rhythm that uses just two or three "body part-generated" sounds - such as clapping, finger-snapping, and foot-tapping. Then, have each group perform their rhythm while the other group, with eyes closed, tries to identify the sounds. You may like to have the listening group members turn their backs to the performing group, to make the listening even more challenging.

Sing or Chant a Silly Name Game

Encourage participants to listen to the changes in how a name sounds, as you play one of these games. (Be careful to avoid adapting anyone's name to become a mean or otherwise inappropriate word.)

With the children sitting in a circle, have them choose a letter to give a new beginning sound to the names of everyone in the group. Lead this chant:

Betsy, Betsy is her name.

With a "P," it's Petsy!

David, David is his name.

With a "P," it's Pavid!

Joel, Joel is his name.

With a "P," it's Poel!

Or adapt the Name Game presented in the song sung by Shirley Ellis in 1964. Change each name, as the song directs:

The first letter of the name,

I treat it like it wasn't there

But a B or an F or an M will appear.

And then I say Bo, add a B,

Then I say the name.

Then Banana Fanna and a Fo,

Then I say the name again with an F very plain,

Then a Fe Fi and a Mo.

Then I say the name again with an M this time

And there isn't any name that I can't rhyme.

Your lyrics will sound something like this:


Shirley, Shirley, Bo Birley

Banana Fanna Fo Firley

Fe Fi Mo Mirley,


The song, "The Name Game," offers additional rules, such as a particular way to change a name that begins with a B, F, or M (by dropping the name's first letter). Or, you can make up name-changing rules of your own.

BINGO: Song and Silence

The traditional song, "BINGO," focuses participants on the song's silences as well as the sounds as a letter goes unsung at each verse:

There was a farmer had a dog and Bingo was its name, Oh!

B-I-N-G-O, B-I-N-G-O, B-I-N-G-O, and Bingo was its name, Oh!

"There was a farmer had a dog and Bingo was its name, Oh!

B-I-N-G-_, B-I-N-G-_, B-I-N-G-_, and Bingo was its name, Oh!

"There was a farmer had a dog and Bingo was its name, Oh!

B-I-N-_-_, B-I-N-_-_, B-I-N-_-_, and Bingo was its name, Oh!

And so on, until the last verse where none of the letters of "BINGO" are sung aloud. You may instruct the children to make a silent movement, such as nodding their heads, to indicate missing letters. Or, give each letter a different movement. Sing the song until all five letters of "BINGO" are expressed in silence.

Including All Participants

BINGO: Song and Silence. Prepare five cards with the letters, B, I, N, G, and O. During the singing, use the cards to cue a child with hearing loss (or invite one, or five, hearing participants to do it), so the child with limited hearing can participate.