Children aged 5-7 are in key stage 1 (KS1). Under the current national curriculum, there is more flexibility about how 5-7 year olds should be taught speaking and listening skills. Nonetheless, it is still expected that spoken language will develop and become more complex with age as they learn to read and write. When children are 7 years old, they should be fluent in Standard English. There are different speaking and listening activities that children can take part in, some of which are suggested below.


Speaking activities at school

Children aged 5-7 should be able to use verbal language to express their thoughts and feelings in a clear and confident way. Their speech should be organised and should include all the relevant details for the person listening to understand the message. There are several ways that children are encouraged to practice speaking in school. Often children will work in groups, which gets them sharing and discussing ideas. This helps them to practice their spoken language. Children will also read out loud. As children learn to use appropriate intonation by reading aloud and reciting poems, they will translate these skills into their own spoken language.


Listening activities at school

During your children’s early years, they would have been learning how to pay attention. Listening and attention skills continue to improve during key stage 1. Children should be able to take turns when speaking as they take part in class discussions. They should be able to remember the main points of what has been said to them and ask relevant questions. At school children might listen to detailed presentations from a teacher as well as recordings from a CD or video.


Speaking and Listening activities at home 

Ask questions

The best way to support your child’s speaking and listening at home is to talk to them! You could ask children questions about their day at school or about why they like a particular game or activity. This will give children the opportunity to talk about their feelings and express themselves, whilst practicing essential speaking and listening skills.

Invite friends round

It can also be fun for your children to have friends come round to visit. As children play together, they will talk and listen to each other, which is a fun and easy way to encourage speaking and listening development. Additionally, children will learn how talking to adults is different to talking to children their own age.

The describing game

This fun speaking and listening activity helps children to talk about the things that they enjoy. To play, think of a TV show, movie or book that your child loves and then try and describe it to them, without saying the title or the name of any of the main characters. Your children will have to listen carefully in order to guess what TV show, movie or book you are describing. Once, they guess right, they can have a turn trying to describe and so practicing their speaking skills.

Story-telling pillow

This speaking and listening game really helps children to take turns when speaking as well as helping them to focus and reflect on focus on what other people have said. In this game, you and your children can tell a story together. Instruct everyone to sit in a circle and only the person holding the pillow is allowed to talk. The first person begins the story and once they have said one sentence, they pass the pillow on to the next person. Each person adds to the story, one sentence at a time. Keep going until each person has said at least 3 sentences and then the person who began should finish the story.

Make finger puppets

Finger Puppets for speaking and listening activities

Finger Puppets Template

Speaking and listening activities are also useful for teaching children to understand other perspectives. Making finger puppets and putting on a puppet show is a great way to help your children practice their speaking and listening skills. Puppets act as good props for your children’s stories, which also helps them to use their imagination. Some templates have been attached below to help you get started.