Today we are exploring sound waves and vibration using musical instruments, yoghurt pots and gloop! If you are not sure how to explain sound to children this is a very clear explanation. Don’t explain anything until they have experimented and had a guess themselves, ask lots of questions ‘Why do you think…?’ ‘How do you think that happens?’ ‘What happens if you bang harder/softer?’ ‘What happens if you put it in water?’ etc.
Exploring sound waves – a few ideas
We have a LOT of musical instruments in this house (2 trumpet players, one violinist, one guitarist, one pianist, one flautist and a small boy who likes playing all of these given the chance!) We have a box full of percussion instruments, a glockenspiel etc. I have picked up a lot of things second-hand but music is one of the things we have chosen to spend money on because music enriches lives. Encourage children to have a go on any instruments you may have and ask them how they think the sound is being made and how it reaches our ears.
Make some drums by stretching plastic bags over different sized plastic flower tubs and securing the bags in place with elastic bands. Bash them with wooden spoon handles and listen to the difference in pitch for each drum (try bashing them with metal spoon handles and see if that makes a difference)
Fill some bottles or jars with different amounts of water and tap them to see which notes they make. Blow across the top of them too!
Wrap some tissue paper around a comb and blow through it.
Make a very loud noise with a thunder maker or by banging on a saucepan or by crashing two lids together and see how far away we have to be before we can’t hear it anymore (Thundermakers are brilliant, we bought ours but you can make them out of a thick cardboard tube sealed with a plastic lid which has been drilled to allow you to post a nice long spring through. I was going to show you ours but it needs a quick repair after some rather vigorous thunder making!)
Make yoghurt pot telephones with two yogurt pots and a long piece of stretched string joining them together and see if you can talk to each other.