My kids listen to a lot of audiobooks, it’s a great quiet time activity, plus listening totally counts as reading!
Audiobooks are excellent for all children because they can usually listen to a book above the grade level they can currently read at (which is excellent news for kids who are a little slower to read) so they can listen to books that really keep their interest.
We have a number of different apps and websites that we use for audiobooks, that will be a whole separate post coming on it’s own soon but today I wanted to give some ideas on activities that kids can do while listening to a book.
Update: I have a post all about how we use Audible and a hack for getting some free books and another post about all the other apps we use for audiobooks.
If you have a child who needs to keep their hands busy at all times this list should be very helpful!
My kids each have an old phone of mine that they use for their audiobooks and they have all the apps that they need for it. Sometimes they will listen in a room with no one else and just listen via the phone but usually they are moving around or in a room with someone else and then they use their headphones.
We’ve gone through only a couple of pairs of headphones in the last few years and considering how many hours they use them I think they’ve gotten some good use out of them! (Not to mention little ones getting their hands on them and stretching them in ways they shouldn’t be stretched.)
When it comes to listening devices I’m a big fan of all thinks Anker brand, our portable Bluetooth speaker only needs to be charged about twice a year and we use it a ton, I love it. Next time we buy headphones for the kids I’m going straight to Anker headphones. I own earbuds by them and they’ve lasted me for years already.
Alright, let’s get into the audiobook activities!
26 Activities for Kids While Listening to AUDIOBOOKS
For years we have had a family audiobook going during most of our lunch and supper meals, this is our current one.
What better way to make chores more enjoyable than listening to a book! I know I’m very similar. My kids like to listen when they are doing their dishwasher duty, cleaning their rooms and other not-so-fun chores.
GETTING READY FOR THE DAY
In a similar vein to chores, getting ready for the day is one of those times where resistance is often met. Both of my kids like being able to listen to their book while they brush their teeth (both in the morning and the evening).
I wish I could tally the hours my daughter has done this. When COVID first hit and friend time wasn’t an option (that’s how they spend a lot of their afternoons #homeschoolbenefits) she spent hours upon hours listening to her book and playing Lego, at the age of 12 it is still something she enjoys.
Here is one thing on the list that my kids don’t really do, honestly, I do it more than them! Neither of my kids have ever been into or really enjoyed coloring, it makes sense for Ephraim’s personality but it baffles me for Raeca’s, I feel like it should be her thing but it really isn’t. A good adult coloring book and a good audiobook can entertain me for a long time though!
I’m usually the puzzle initiator in the house but everyone likes spending some time working on them. In the colder months we’ll often leave one on the table and throughout the day everyone pops in and out, doing a bit of the puzzle. If they are listening to an audiobook the kids will last longer working at it.
Specifically I will mention the Usborne sticker books here, they have been a hit over the years.
While I generally think of the younger ages for this one, it’s also really good for older kids who still need help with hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
SEARCH AND FIND BOOKS
We’re into the Where’s Waldo phase (we scored one in a Little Free Library a few months ago) and it’s a fairly mindless thing to do while listening.
A great activities for those in the 3-6 year old range!
Confession time: I hate Playdough. I hate the mess it makes. I hate how it makes my hands fell. I really, really, dislike Playdough. But it entertains kids so well! I’ve learned to get over my dislike for Playdough in order for the kids to have fun. (Because Jared has Celiac we make our own gluten free Playdough these days.)
PAINTING WITH WATER
You know those books that have little splotches of paint on them that kids just need to add water to and spread the paint around. They are still around and are exactly the same now as they were in my childhood. I like how low mess they are, spills can happen but at least it’s just water.
In the same vein of painting with water, Water Wow books have been a big hit in our house for the last few years.
Get a kid started and you’ll have a hard time getting them to stop!
This is one of my son’s favorite activities, another one of those things that surprises me about my kids.
MAGNETIC MAP PUZZLE
I love this magnetic map puzzle that we have, we scored it at Costco last year and it’s great for learning geography!
Once you get going with cross stitch there really isn’t much thinking involved, it’s a favorite of mine.
Regular ol’ Silly Putty is fun, somehow kids can find so many things to do with it. My kids got a snowman silly putty kit type thing from Jared’s coworker years ago and it still constantly gets grabbed and played with.
I feel like every kid goes through a Perler Beads phase!
We love to listen to books while we are doing a variety of different crafts!
As someone who can’t draw I love step by step drawing books.
DRAWING WITH BUTCHER PAPER
We often get the big rolls of paper from Ikea and I like to spread it across our big table and let the kids draw different scenes. Often they draw car mats or other useful creations.
Ephraim is pretty big into yo-yoing and has been trying to learn a few different tricks. There are lots of YouTube videos on the subject.
My kids always take their audiobooks along when we are going on a road trip, it helps the hours fly by! Plus, you can look at the window and enjoy the scenery while listening.
Ephraim will often grab different games out while he is listening, Snap Circuits is one he gravitates to.
WHILE PLAYING VIDEO GAMES
Surprisingly to me, my kids will often turn the volume off when they are playing video games and just listen to a book instead!
Okay, what are some things your kids like to do while listening to audiobooks? Let me know and I’ll add them to the list!