What Does Baby Hear?

Purpose: Talk with your child and help her to ask and answer questions!

For this Activity you will need:

  • A rattle
  1. Sit on the floor with your child facing you (either lying down or sitting up).
  2. Show your child the rattle. Shake it in front of her or at her side. Ask: “What do you hear?” Don’t feel silly about asking your baby questions! It will help her learn.
  3. Tell her: “It is a rattle and it makes noise. Do you want to see it?”
  4. Give the rattle to your child and let her look at and use it.
  5. Talk with your child about she hears everyday. Whenever you hear a sound, ask: “What do you hear?” Be sure to pause before you say the answer. For example:

    • When the telephone rings, say: “What do you hear? I hear the telephone ringing. Let me go answer the phone and say ‘Hello’.”
    • When the dog barks, say: “What do you hear? WOOF! WOOF! The doggy is barking.”
    • When the radio is turned on, say: “What do you hear? The radio is playing pretty music? Doesn’t it sound nice? Do you want to dance?”
  6. Soon your child will tell you what she hears! When this happens repeat the word and add more. For example, if your child says “door” you might say, “Your right! Someone’s knocking at the door.” If your child is having trouble with a word, help her say the word correctly. For example if your child said “daar” instead of “door” say: “Yes! It is the door.”
  7. Once your child is talking, help her name everything she hears. Ask: “What do you hear?” at home, outside, at the store, or riding on the bus.

Next Steps/Follow-Up:

  • Talk with your child during everyday activities. Tell him everything you are doing. For example, when you leave in the morning, say:   “Mommy is going to work. You are going to school. Let’s put our coats on. Let’s lock the door. Mommy is now putting you in your car seat. I am buckling the safety belt.”
  • Ask lots of questions: “Are you hungry? Do you want your bottle?” at lunchtime. When your baby needs to get dressed, ask: “Do you want to wear the red shirt or the blue shirt.” Let your baby point to his choice. Repeat his selection: “Oh! You want to wear the red shirt! It is my favorite!”
  • Read books that help your child talk about what she hears. The local library has lots of books. Try: Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What do you hear? by Bill Martin Jr.

Background Information:

Language & Literacy involves:

  • Speaking clearly.
  • Asking and answering questions.
  • Paying attention to and listening to people and stories.
  • Following directions.
  • Showing an interest in books.
  • Learning about sounds in words.
  • Recognizing letters and numbers.
  • Drawing pictures and trying to write and copy letters.


When your child starts school, he will be more likely to do well if he is able to do these things.

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Ready At Five improves the practice and quality of early childhood education in Maryland.


We believe that every child in Maryland should have the foundational skills needed for success in school, career and life.

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