Exploring the world of sound with preschoolers presents an interesting challenge: how to make an intangible concept hands-on. Our talented intern, Ginny Hosler, was up to the task! We hope you like the activities we offered to investigate sound.
First, I began with a half hour story program. This allows children time to build a vocabulary about a particular concept prior to exploration. At the top of the program, I always begin with open-ended questions to get kids talking and thinking. Then, I follow with non-fiction picture book. I love using books in the Acorn series. This one worked especially well:
Along the way I shared stories related to sounds and music. By far, the biggest hit of the program was my telling “The Gunniwolf” with puppets. The idea that music calms the savage beast is so hilarious.
Once stories have been told, we set up the room for kids to explore the world of sound.
This is an activity inspired by Teacher Tom, where various instruments are suspended from a PVC structure. Children were encouraged to walk through the structure and experiment with different materials (wood, metal, plastic) in the production of sound. I like the immersive quality of this activity.
Draw to Music
Ginny put together a playlist that included various genres of music: pop, jazz, classical, etc. Then, we set out paint and encouraged our young artists to let the music inspire them.
This simple experiment illustrates how sound travels in waves. Using the eyedropper provided, children drew water from the cup and dropped it into the clear plastic bowl. Parents were encouraged to talk to their child about how the drop causes a ripple effect in the water – similar to that of sound waves travelling through air.
Playing around with sound
Preschoolers need lots of opportunity to explore through play. So, I typically designate a corner of the room as an unstructured play area. In this area for Sound Investigations, I placed plastic tubes that play a particular note when it is struck. I also had instruments and a sorting set, where children sort objects by the sound they make when shaken.
Make your tambourine
I love having children leave my program with something they can use to continue their explorations after they leave the library. For sound investigations, children made simple tambourines out of paper plates with pasta inside.
I will definitely revisit this program again. We all had a great time with our Sound Investigations!