Close this search box.

LifeSkills Handbook Activity 18

This is a single activity session plan from The Lifeskills Handbook. There are 61 activity sessions altogether. The handbook is available from our resources section where you’ll also find downloadable storybooks, books and posters to help you in your work.

LifeSkills Handbooks Activity 18
Communication: Listening Well

Purpose of activity: To develop skills to listen well

Life skills: communication & interpersonal relationships, self- awareness, critical thinking


  • Two sets of instruction cards


  • Divide children into groups of three by counting 1, 2, and 3 around the group.
  • Explain that the 1s are speakers, the 2s are listeners and the 3s are observers.
  • The speakers should prepare to talk for three minutes about anything that interests them or that they can speak easily about. For example: a sport, hobby or just what they did today.
  • Give each listener a different card with ONE instruction on it (see the examples below). If the children cannot read, give them the slip and whisper the instruction.
    • Interrupt the speaker.
    • Try to stop the speaker’s story with a better one of your own.
    • Lean over and start whispering to the observer.
    • Laugh for no reason.
    • Examine the contents of your pocket.
    • Make comment on what the speaker is saying, ‘That was stupid’, ‘You really did that?’
    • Change the subject to something unrelated to what the speaker is talking about.
    • Look bored, yawn, and look around room.
    • Disagree with the speaker each time they say something
  • The speaker starts speaking and the listener listens well for a short time.
  • After 3 minutes, ask children to change their positions. The observers become listeners, the listeners become speakers and the speakers become observers.
  • Give the listeners a new type of instruction such as those below, adapt as needed. Or write new ones, to fit with your culture.
    • Show interest in the speaker by making sounds such as uh huh, hmm, and nod your head in agreement.
    • Look at the speaker and make eye contact. Lean forward to listen better.
    • Ask questions to clarify what the speaker is saying.
    • Compliment the speaker on what they are saying, for example, ‘That is very interesting’ or ‘oh yes I agree’.
  • Ask observers of the second round what they noticed and the speakers how they felt.

Final discussion:

  • How do you feel when you tell someone something and they don’t listen?
  • Have you ever had a misunderstanding because you were not listening? For example, someone wants to talk to you about something serious and you are not in the mood (maybe because you are sleepy, distracted, worried etc.), what can you do?

Visit LifeSkills Handbook for more info or to buy your copy!