DIY Whisper Phone

One of our more popular posts here on The OT Toolbox is our post on classroom sensory strategies. For kids who struggle with attention challenges, general sensory processing needs, auditory processing, self-regulation, or other needs, a whisper phone can be a power tool when it comes to reading or processing auditory information.
 
Below, you’ll find information on how to make a DIY whisper phone for only $3 and how a whisper phone helps kids of all ages! Plus, we’re sharing where we got this awesome idea to make a whisper phone that kids will love! For more sensory play ideas, stick around!!
 
Affiliate links are included in this post. 
 
Make a DIY whisper phone to address reading comprehension, letter sounds, and sensory processing needs.
 

DIY Whisper Phone

When it comes to therapy tools and equipment, finding the best deals is ideal. But even better is when you can make your own therapy tools at a fraction of the cost and still benefit from the therapeutic benefits.
 
This DIY whisper phone is just the example. In fact, a whisper phone on Amazon costs more than $6 so when you are shopping to fill the needs of a classroom or caseload, the DIY version can be a fun alternative. 
 
Auditory processing activities may include whisper and volume of voice, including using a whisper phone in therapy.
 

What is a Whisper Phone?

First, you may be wondering “What is a whisper phone“…read on to find out what exactly a whisper phone is and how they can be so beneficial to so many kids. 
 
Typically, a whisper phone is a tube shaped like a phone that can be held at the child’s ear and mouth. They can whisper sounds and words and clearly hear individual sounds without background noise. 
 
They are a great tool for kids with auditory needs AND kids without auditory processing issues. Whisper phones can be so helpful in teaching any child to recognize sounds of letters! Kids can use a whisper phone to hear themselves read, which helps them with comprehension and fluency through auditory feedback.
 
A whisper phone is a tool that can be so helpful for kids with auditory processing needs or other concerns that interfere with a child’s ability to focus on auditory input. These kids sometimes struggle with pulling out important information from auditory input. 
 
The whisper phone device can be used to address several areas of auditory needs. Auditory processing challenges can look like a variety of things:
  • Poor listening skills
  • Auditory attention challenges (distractions by sounds in a classroom or home)
  • Difficulty with language comprehension
  • Auditory sensory sensitivities
  • Other listening concerns
Using a whisper phone can help with skills like:
  • Auditory discrimination
  • Auditory sequencing
  • Auditory memory
  • Auditory figure-ground
Other times, a whisper phone is used in reading to help kids recognize sounds in words, including pronunciation, fluency, and reading comprehension. This can be helpful for kids without auditory processing needs too! 
 
Make a DIY whisper phone to address reading comprehension, letter sounds, and sensory processing needs.
 

How to use a Whisper Phone

Sometimes a whisper phone is used in the classroom setting during reading tasks. To use this auditory feedback device, it is quite simple:

  1. Hold one end of the whisper phone up to your ear. 
  2. Hold the other end of the device up to your mouth. 
  3. Whisper into the phone and listen for the sound waves to move through the device to directly to the ear. 

Some whisper phones require two hands like the one we created. Others can be held in one hand. These devices might be a U-shaped piece of tubing, or a few pieces of PVC pipe that are glued together. These types of whipser devices are nice for feedback during reading. 

To use the whisper device, ask the student to experiment with a variety of sound levels. They can whisper, talk, hum to see how sounds are transferred directly to their ears. 

As the student to read aloud into the device. Then ask them to read while there is background noise present. Let them experiment and see how loud they need to speak into the device to ensure auditory comprehension.

Here are more auditory processing activities that can help.
 
Make a DIY whisper phone to address reading comprehension, letter sounds, and sensory processing needs.
 

A whisper phone can be used in many ways:

 
Sound out letters to help kids recognize the sounds associated with each letter. This is SO important in kids whom we later see in therapy who can not associate letter formation and struggle with handwriting and formation!
 
  1. Sound out words to identify parts of words.
  2. Auditory feedback when reading.
  3. Provide a calming sensory diet activity.
  4. Improve self-confidence with reading skills.
  5. Discriminate between sounds and background noise.
  6. Identify tone and volume of speech.
  7. So much more!
 
Make a DIY whisper phone to address reading comprehension, letter sounds, and sensory processing needs.

 

How to make a DIY Whisper Phone

We were inspired to make a DIY whisper phone when we saw a fun activity in the new STEAM Learn and Play Book. This whisper phone is not the traditional hand-held style, but more like the traditional can phones from the therapist’s childhood! 
 
We made a whisper phone that can be used with two children and is a fun way to address the needs described above. 
 
To make a DIY whisper phone, you’ll need just three items. We gathered these items at our Dollar store, making the DIY whisper phone a great deal! 
  • Two small funnels
  • One tube
To make the DIY whisper phone, just connect the funnels to a tube. The bendy tube that we used was long enough to reach between two friends. 
 
If the tube doesn’t fit exactly, use a bit of tape to hold the tube in place. 
 
Then, play and learn! 
 
Make a DIY whisper phone to address reading comprehension, letter sounds, and sensory processing needs.
 
This whisper phone is so easy to make that kids can make it themselves. In fact, it would be a great group activity for a small group in a camp setting. 
 

Auditory Feedback Phone (STEM Activity)

I love that this auditory feedback phone is a STEM activity that kids can create themselves as a STEM and fine motor activity. 

By making this auditory feedback device, kids are learning about science with the concept of the auditory processing system, the mathematics of sound waves, and engineering to create the technical ability to transport whisper sounds through the device the creates feedback in the way of sounds. 

 

We got the idea to make a whisper phone from the new (Amazon affiliate link) STEAM Play & Learn book written by Ana at Babble Dabble Do. What a fun book this is for hands-on activities that kids will WANT to do while learning and playing. 
 
Each page is full of colorful activities that teach.
 
 
 
 
There are so many fun ways to explore science, technology, engineering, art, and math with this book. For parents or teachers looking for a complement to a specific curriculum, this book is it. Kid can explore so many areas while learning through hands-on play.
 
The OT in my LOVES the tactile experiences shared in this book! Check out some of the ideas below:
 
 
 
 

Looking for more ways to address sensory needs? 

You will love our Printable Sensory Diet Cards that cover so many areas! There are activities and ideas to address auditory processing needs, plus every other sensory system. Grab our Sensory Diet Cards for a complete packet of sensory activities. You’ll find 24 pages of 345 sensory diet activities including:

  • Calming and alerting movement activities
  • Heavy work fine motor activities for pre-writing needs or fidgeting needs
  • Sensory activities
  • Sensory support cards
These sensory diet cards can be used in the home, classroom, or clinic. They are available now for $9.99 on The OT Toolbox shop
Use printable sensory diet cards to encouraging sensory input through play
 
 
Fall Leaf themed auditory processing activities for sensory needs in kids.Auditory processing dominoes made with bells are perfect for a color matching activity, and can be graded to meet the auditory needs of all ages.Auditory processing sensory ideas for backyard summer sensory play, perfect for sensory diet ideas for kids.Baby Sensory bottles using recycled spice jars
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

More ways to use a Whisper phone in auditory processing skills

Many of the activities in the Auditory Processing Kit can be used with a DIY whisper phone or a commercial version.

The Auditory Processing Kit is a tool to support learners by building skills in listening comprehension, auditory processing needs, and much more. The tools offer support to learners with hyper-responsive or hypo-responsive auditory systems. Therapists love the hands-on activities to support learning and active listening through play and handwriting tasks.

  • Listening Comprehension
  • Fine Motor Listening Skills
  • How to Improve Listening Skills Poster
  • Clap It Out Syllables Orthographic Activities
  • Beginning Sounds Letter Activity
  • Rhyming Words Activity
  • Activity Listening Activity
  • Hearing Skills Activity
  • Auditory Memory Strategies
  • What Does Active Listening Look Like?
  • Whole Body Listening Activity
  • Whole Body Listening Poster
  • Listening and Motor Skills Game
  • 2 Step Direction Cards
  • How to Support Hyper-Responsiveness of the Auditory Sense (handout and info sheet)
  • How to Support Hypo-responsiveness of the Auditory Sense (handout and info sheet)
  • Auditory Processing Tools Cards
  • Auditory Processing Speed -2 Digit Numbers
  • Auditory Processing Speed -3 Digit Numbers
  • Auditory Processing Speed -4 Digit Numbers

Use the handouts and posters to teach about the auditory system and auditory sensitivities, with strategies to support individualized needs. Get your copy of the Auditory Processing Kit today.

Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20+ years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

DIY whisper phone