Jack in the Box

 Aim of the game:

Listening skills are really important for learning new words, sentences and sounds and are essential for getting children ready for school. In this Jack in the Box game you child gets to be the Jack in the Box. This is such a great way of helping your child to build on their listening skills whilst having lots of fun.


 What you will need:

  A large cardboard box or a large washing basket 

 Something that makes a noise such as a shaker, bells, drum or musical toy

 Warning! Make sure your box is large enough and sturdy enough to have your toddler in it and that they can get in and out without if tipping over.


 How to play:

  • Introduce the game to your child by saying “Let’s play Jack in the Box”
  • Explain that they are going to be the Jack in the Box and that they need to listen for your sound (e.g. bell, drum or shaker etc). When they hear the sound your child can jump up like a Jack in the Box!
  • Vary the time between the noise so your child learns to listen and not just follow a pattern. This will also build up anticipation and make the game more exciting!



 How to extend:

  • Make this a sound matching game by having a choice of three noise makers for yourself and a matching set for your child in the box. When you play one they have to jump up and play the same noise maker.
  • You can use your own voice instead and your child has to listen for a specific sound or word before they can jump.
  • Play around vocabulary themes but they can only jump when they hear their word. For example, let’s choose vegetables as our theme and your child’s word is ‘potato’ (e.g. you say “carrot…..broccoli…..swede….POTATO!”).
  • Read a story to your child and every time they hear a character name or certain word they have to jump up!
  • Use loud sounds at first but the move onto quiet sounds as they get used to the game. You could add in decoy sounds to see if they are really listening.
  • Introduce another person into the game (e.g. a brother, sister, another adult or friend). Simply get another box and your child needs to listen for their name before they jump up and the other child or person has to listen for their name before jumping up. When you say ‘both jump’ then both have to jump up. Try this with sounds – assigning a noise maker to each child and then play both together if you want them both to jump up.




How useful was this activity?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 4 / 5. Vote count: 1

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

We are sorry that this activity was not useful for you.

Please help us to improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this activity?



Back to Activities for Toddlers