Activity Plans Mixed Ages: Shh ... What's That Sound?
Open up those ears and hear what you can!
- Grades: PreK–K
- 8 small- to medium-sized opaque plastic containers with tight-fitting lids
- Variety of noise-making items, such as sand, pebbles, large marbles, bells, toothpicks, beads, and coins
- Clear, heavy tape
- Long strip of construction paper (about 3 by 18 inches)
- Chart paper cassette player
- Lively music
Objective: Children will practice listening and use problem-solving skills as they explore sounds.
To Prepare: On the strip of heavy paper, glue a sample of each item and label it. Keep the strip out of sight until later.
Warm-Up: Encourage children to talk about objects that make sounds. Invite them to share words that describe the different sounds these objects make as well as sounds they hear throughout the day. Words may vary from simpler words such as loud and soft to more complex words such as tinkly and echoey. Write the descriptive words on chart paper.
1 Show children the noise-making objects and encourage them to identify each one. Invite children to help you create eight sound shakers using the objects. Engage children by allowing them to place one type of noise-making item in each container. Help children seal containers with tape. Older children can be paired with younger ones to work together.
2 Put the sound shakers on a table, and encourage children to play with them. Remind children to listen carefully to the sounds they make. As children explore, ask them what might be making the sounds they hear. Accept all their responses.
3 After some discussion, bring out the paper strip you prepared. Explain to children that the objects on the strip are the same ones they used to make the shakers. Invite children to match each object to a particular sound made by each shaker.
4 Engage children in a discussion of why they think an object is the one in a particular shaker. When children seem satisfied that they've figured out what's in all the containers, open them carefully and talk about what you see inside. Reseal shakers carefully and set them on a table for independent exploration. Hang the chart nearby.
Spin-Off: Form a shaker band! Invite children to select a shaker, turn on your cassette player, and move to the music. On a nice day, take the band outside and enjoy a classroom parade.
This activity originally appeared in the October, 1998 issue of Early Childhood Today.